Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe “A Diesel Insane: The Music of David Bowie.” Fillmore May 05, 2022
Each year during Jazz Fest in New Orleans, Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe pays tribute to a trailblazing artist. Tributes have included the music of Prince, Allman Brothers, Beastie Boys, Rolling Stones, and Aretha Franklin. In 2022 KDTU performed “A Diesel Insane: The Music of David Bowie.”.
Denson, a founding member of the Greyboy Allstars and leader of Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, is a multi-instrumentalist originating from San Diego. The saxophonist and flute player became a member of the Rolling Stones touring band in 2014 after the death of long time member Bobby Keys.
I’ve attended previous tributes and was looking forward to Denson’s interpretation of Bowie’s musical catalog. Vocals were shared by Denson and Bernard Fowler, who is a backup vocalist and a fellow Stones touring band member. From start to finish KDTU put their own spin on numbers, stretching out songs, and improvising, adding a contemporary soul groove, but staying close to the original.
I had expected the band to rip into a fast paced “punch you in the nose” selection right off the bat but instead Denson chose the very danceable soul infused “Sound and Vision”. Even with some new faces in the band, the eleven members including three female backup vocalists, whose harmonies were stunning, sounded tight and well rehearsed. Over the course of the night sixteen songs were selected that covered the breadth of David Bowie’s career. The Fillmore’s size gave the capacity audience enough room to dance. Shoulder to shoulder, the audience sang along to the choruses of “The Jean Genie,” “Fame,” “Suffragette City,” and “Rebel Rebel.” The final song before the encore was “Lazarus,” Bowie’s final single.
Like KDTU’s tributes of the past, this night was top notch. Everything Denson is involved with is done at the highest level. His annual artist tributes during Jazz Fest in New Orleans are not to be missed.
Sound and Vision, Ashes To Ashes, The Jean Genie, Panic In Detroit, Hang Onto Yourself, Fame, TVC 15, Station To Station, Young Americans, Life On Mars, Golden Years, Suffragette City, Oh You Pretty Thing. Fascination, Lazarus, E. Rebel Rebel