The Bowie Variations
Mike Garson, piano
“Whatever Mike lends his hands to invariably becomes something magical.”–David Bowie.
Beginning in 1972, super-versatile pianist Mike Garson performed, toured internationally and recorded with one of the most creative figures in popular music, David Bowie.
Garson writes, “When I met David, I sensed that he was an immense artist and a songwriter with a flair for great melodies and unique harmonies. The Ziggy Stardust tour changed the course of my life in many ways and began a working relationship and a special friendship that has spanned four decades.”
Having played the Bowie songbook in concert countless times, Garson always had the ambition to record his own original variations on these well-known themes. This is the year it came to fruition!
Thanks to the advanced digital technology of the Yamaha Disklavier piano, Garson was able to create several exciting sonic overlays, without abandoning RR’s audiophile approach to recording. “It’s like having six hands!” he exclaimed.
Recorded in the fine natural acoustics of the Oxnard, California, Center for the Performing Arts (venue of several previous RR successes), this program has realistic spatial characteristics not possible with standard studio techniques. Grammy® award winning engineer Keith Johnson has created another touchstone piano recording.
On This Recording
- Space Oddity
- John, I’m Only Dancing
- Life On Mars
- Ashes To Ashes
- Variations on “Changes”
- Let's Dance
- Battle For Britain/Loneliest Guy/Disco King
- Tribute to David
- Wild is the Wind
- Bonus Track: Space Oddity–Take 2
“…who better than he to present an album of piano compositions inspired by the works of Mr. Bowie? The answer, obviously, is no one. This CD is an 11-song sonic expedition through Bowie's catalog that only Garson could lead.” —John C. Bowerman “Having immersed yourself in an album that purports to be an extension on assorted musical themes by rock composer David Bowie, you might be surprised to find yourself not thinking about Bowie at all. Albums of this nature sometimes function as glorified tributes, adding a dollop of original artistry to go along with artistry that has long existed. Pianist Mike Garson's achievement, though, is to have created something that is quite nearly autonomous, save that it owes its inspiration to the good Mr. Stardust...We go from one vista to another, sans checkpoints and borders, which was Bowies preferred mode of music travel, as Garson well knows.” - Colin Fleming, JazzTimes “Mike Garson is the perfect and logical candidate to delve into [David Bowie's] music...His doing so as a solo (though sometimes overdubbed) piano album makes the project much more personal.…On the 'Battle for Britain/Loneliest Guy/Disco King,' Garson culled solos he played on those late-era Bowie album cuts into an emotionally far-reaching medley—The Garson-Bowie Variations, so to speak. The album's sole original, 'The Tribute to David,' Flows with an impressionistic fluidity that mirrors Bowie's career.” —Yoshi Kato, Downbeat "Garson doesn’t just do straight jazz treatments of these tunes; he moves thru classical, pop and even avant-garde genres here and there. Most interesting. And if you have proper HDCD decoding on your player, preamp or receiver, you’ll be hearing the best possible sonics from 44.1K CDs, living up to the audiophile standards of Reference Recordings." –John Henry, Audiophile Audition “I've only ever really heard a piano sound much better than this once, and that was when I sat up close and personal at a very small, intimate recital given in the Bosendorfer Hall in Vienna last year, after a day spent touring the company's piano factory. Yes, this recording is that good. If you're a Bowie fan, you should hear this disc. If you're a fan of jazz you should, too. And even if you just want to hear just how good a CD can sound, with a disc able to push your system to its limits, this is one you should have.” —Andrew Everard, WhatHiFi “What will either delight or shock Bowie's hardcore following is the way their hero's material can sound as if it was composed by Erik Satie...there's gorgeous sound, an exquisite recording and an intellectual challenge.” —HiFi News