Lester Bowie – The Great Pretender (1981)

Thinking about Richard Cook, and by extension about Lester Bowie doing “Thriller” as opposed to Jacko — assuming that there even needs to be an “opposition” — reminds me that this Bowie did understand the mechanics and emotions of pop to a sublime degree. Indeed, through his involvement as arranger and lead trumpeter on Fontella Bass’ “Rescue Me,” one could argue that he helped lay the ground on which the werewolf Jackson could prowl. “The Great Pretender,” though, is his key to the pop kingdom. Recorded in June 1981 as the title track of an album he made for ECM — it was released in May 1982, at the height of New Pop, received rave reviews and incredibly (especially from this distance) very nearly charted — Bowie is perceptible on the front cover only as a white-suited wraith, intangible at the far end of a murkily blue pond in the “Atmosphere” dead of night; it is no accident that the album’s final track is entitled “Oh, How The Ghost Sings.” [Source]

[via Mogens Toudahl]