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From Supporting to Solo: Singer-Songwriter Jack Spann

Musician Jack Spann is not a musical newcomer. The St. Louis native has lived in New York for years and put his keyboard – and other musical talents to work with any number of other musicians. But the last couple of years have been big ones for Spann.

It was in that time he was called on to play with David Bowie as Bowie prepared to record what would be his final album. Spann says he played the role of "jazzy piano that could also rock out." Serving as the voice to Bowie's ideas, he says, "being the technical arm of someone who is one of the most talented musicians that ever lived, but not necessarily the best 'technician' on the piano that ever lived."

Over the course of several days, Spann learned from the other musicians and of course, Bowie himself, about efficiency and creative thinking.

"By the end of that first day I felt like I was in a group of very supportive and satisfied was really a great experience," says Spann.

Shortly after his Bowie gig, Spann recorded  his first solo album, Time Time Time Time Time, with the support of Milwaukee producer Gary Tanin.

Spann explains that the time theme was influenced by the fact that people get older, "and there's not much you can do about it except enjoy the ride."

However, Spann notes there are also many stressful times that many people try to hide. The album covers a lot of emotional ground, including the dark side of human nature. Spann believes that a "part of the job of an artist like to try to somehow come to terms with that frightening anxiety panic of just normal life and it's a scary matter where you are."

Spann plays a show this evening, Thursday, April 21, at Linneman’s in Riverwest, but ahead of that, he stopped by the Lake Effect studio: