David Bowie’s 25th studio album, Blackstar, was on its way. We were baited with the title track and another song, “Lazarus” – contemplative, moody tracks about death and dying, rebirth and transformation. An original stage show, Lazarus, expanded on these themes.
Two days after the Epiphany, the feast day commemorating the visit of the magi to the Christ child and the manifestation of God in human form, Bowie’s Blackstar album was delivered in full. On Bowie’s 69th birthday, no less, which he shared with the earthly king of rock and roll, Elvis Presley.
The magi followed a star to Bethlehem, and the Starman went cold. But not before he told us, “I’m a blackstar.” But, which blackstar? A mass of dark energy in space, like a black hole, after a sun burns itself out to its end and collapses in on itself? The black sun of Mesoamerican myth, a figure of death and rebirth? Or the medical term for a cancer lesion, as liver cancer racked Bowie’s body?
India.Arie made Christmas with Friends with Joe Sample, and decided to press on with completing the album after the jazz piano icon died of mesothelioma in September 2014.
And Sharon Jones’s latest foray with the Dap-Kings was celebrated along with some sadness, as Jones continues treatment for a recurrence of pancreatic cancer. There’s a twinge of showing appreciation for Jones while she’s still with us.