Gail Ann Dorsey
|Born||November 20, 1962|
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Gail Ann Dorsey (born November 20, 1962) is an American musician. With a long career as a session musician mainly on bass guitar, she is perhaps best known for her lengthy residency in David Bowie's band, from 1995 to Bowie's death in 2016. Aside from playing bass, she sang lead vocals on live versions of "Under Pressure" (taking the part originally sung by Queen frontman Freddie Mercury) and dueted with Bowie on other songs, including "The London Boys", "Aladdin Sane (1913-1938-197?)", "I Dig Everything", accompanying Bowie on clarinet,
From 1993 to 1996, Dorsey also recorded and toured with Tears for Fears, and collaborated on songwriting with the band. She appeared in several of the band's promo videos throughout this period.
Her diverse range of work includes performances and recordings with, among others, The National, Lenny Kravitz, Bryan Ferry, Boy George, the Indigo Girls, Khaled, Jane Siberry, The The, Skin, Gwen Stefani, Charlie Watts, Seal, Gang of Four, Susan Werner, Ani DiFranco and Dar Williams.
In addition, Dorsey has released three solo albums: The Corporate World (1988), Rude Blue (1992), and I Used To Be... (2003).
Dorsey grew up in the 1970s in West Philadelphia. She played guitar from the age of nine and cites Mark Farner of Grand Funk Railroad, Terry Kath of Chicago, Jimi Hendrix, and Nancy Wilson of Heart as early influences. She acquired a bass guitar shortly after her 14th birthday but did not consider herself a bass player until she was 20.She also wrote feature-length screenplays to accompany some of her musical compositions.
Dorsey attended the California Institute of the Arts in the School of Film and Video. Her screenplays and short Super 8 films earned her a full scholarship. Dorsey was the only woman in her freshman class and the youngest woman to be admitted to the Live Action department up to that point.After completing three semesters she felt unsuited for the film industry and once again turned to a career in music.
At the age of 22, Dorsey moved to London to pursue her musical career, where she was in a musical collaboration/band 20To with keyboard player/composer Pete Stern. Their first demos were engineered and produced by Paul "Doc" Stewart at Village Way Studio in London. Stewart was responsible for their introduction to CBS Records, which led to her first recording deal. She also composed the music for the Theatre of Black Women play Chiaroscuro in 1985, and was in the band for the show. She then established herself through collaborations with artists such as Boy George, Ann Pigalle, and Donny Osmond.Dorsey's first high-profile job was as a guest vocalist in the original line up of The Charlie Watts Big Band and its 1985 premiere at London's famous West End jazz club, Ronnie Scott's. An important point in Dorsey's solo career was her appearance on The Tube , a weekly music television hosted by Jools Holland and Paula Yates. She sang on the 1986 world jazz album The Song of Many Tongues by Grand Union Orchestra, written by Tony Haynes.
In December 1987, Dorsey signed with Warner Music Group and in 1988 released her first solo album, The Corporate World . The album was produced by bassist Nathan East of the jazz quartet Fourplay and included appearances by artists such as Eric Clapton. It received a five-star review and was voted one of the Top 50 Albums of the Year by London's Q magazine.She moved to Island Records in 1991, signed by founder Chris Blackwell. In 1992, she released her second solo album entitled Rude Blue, which featured trumpeter Mark Pender and trombonist Richie "La Bamba" (from Conan O'Brien's house band), Carla Azar on drums (from Wendy & Lisa), Carol Steele on percussion, and the famous James Brown horn section of Maceo Parker, Fred Wesley, and Alfred "Pee Wee" Ellis. After almost 12 years in England, Dorsey relocated to the artist community of Woodstock in upstate New York in 1994.
When her relationship with Island became strained, Dorsey began to concentrate on session work and in 1995 was recruited for David Bowie's Outside Tour.Throughout the remainder of the 1990s and into the 21st century she performed and recorded with artists such as Gang of Four, Louise Goffin, world music stars Rachid Taha, Faudel, and Khaled (on their live album 1, 2, 3 Soleils ), Sophie B. Hawkins, Tears For Fears, The The, The Indigo Girls, Canadian artist Jane Siberry, Jeffrey Gaines, Italian blues man Zucchero, Dar Williams, Catie Curtis, Toshi Reagon, Joan Osborne, The B-52s, and Michael Hutchence of INXS.
Dorsey is perhaps best known for her contribution to the David Bowie band. After the Outside Tourshe provided vocals and bass for Earthling (1997), Heathen (2002), Reality (2003) and The Next Day (2013). She recorded "Planet of Dreams", a duet with Bowie on the 1997 EMI UK benefit CD release, Long Live Tibet, as well as several other live recordings and videos. She was on board for the last six tours and performed with Bowie at "The Concert For New York" at Madison Square Garden. About a decade after Rude Blue, Dorsey released her third solo album in 2003. The album entitled I Used To Be is a collection of previously unreleased material spanning the past 18 years of Dorsey's songwriting archives. She wrote all songs herself with the exception of a few collaborators, namely Roland Orzabal and singer-songwriter Kristen Hall. I Used To Be was produced by Dorsey and engineer/producer Brandon Mason, with long-time friend and fellow bassist Sara Lee as executive producer. In 2017, Dorsey joined the Celebrating David Bowie tour from January 2, 2017, to February 2, 2017, alongside other musicians and collaborators of David Bowie.
Dorsey's musical style has a broad span and incorporates rock, funk, country, and pop influences.She describes her current sound as a present-day version of the AM/FM radio tunes that left a mark on her music such as The Fifth Dimension, Olivia Newton-John, Bread and Heart. When asked to describe her sound in one word she says "Black-arach...but that's maybe how I feel most days. Sometimes you can never tell what vehicle is required to deliver the message until it tells you. I don't want to limit myself to anything. I just want to maintain honesty and substance in the work. That is my responsibility to the music and the audience." Gail uses a Music Man Stingray bass guitar and a Fender Jazz Bass mostly, during her touring and studio efforts.
In December 2021, Bass Player magazine gave Dorsey a Lifetime Achievement Award.
1990: Bloodletting by Concrete Blonde – Gail Ann: bass on "Tomorrow, Wendy"
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Reeves Gabrels is an American guitarist, songwriter and record producer. A member and guitarist of British band the Cure since 2012, Gabrels worked with David Bowie from 1987 to 1999, and was a member of the band Tin Machine. He has lived in New York, Boston, London, Los Angeles, Nashville, and New York's Hudson Valley. His Nashville-based band since 2007, Reeves Gabrels & His Imaginary Friends, features Gabrels on guitar and vocals.
Sara Lee is an English-American bassist and singer-songwriter, who came to prominence replacing Dave Allen on bass guitar in post-punk band Gang of Four, which she was a member of from 1982 to 1984. She was also a member of Robert Fripp's short-lived band The League of Gentlemen and is also notable for work with B-52s, Ani DiFranco and Indigo Girls. As of October 2021, Lee rejoined Gang of Four with founding members Hugo Burnham and Jon King as well as David Pajo, to tour in 2022.
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The Hours Tour was a small-scale promotional concert tour by David Bowie comprising a handful of live performances and numerous television appearances in support of the album Hours in late 1999. Several live songs from the tour were included as b-sides to singles from the album, and concert recordings from the tour were released in 2020 as Something in the Air and in 2021 with David Bowie At The Kit Kat Klub .
The David Bowie Heathen Tour was a 2002 concert tour in support of the album, Heathen, and was also notable for the performances of all songs from the 1977 Low album.
The Earthling Tour was a concert tour by British musician David Bowie, in promotion of his album Earthling, released in 1997, The tour started on 7 June 1997 at Flughafen Blankensee in Lübeck, Germany, continuing through Europe, North America before reaching a conclusion in Buenos Aires, Argentina on 7 November 1997.
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The Corporate World is the debut studio album by the American musician and singer-songwriter Gail Ann Dorsey. It was released in 1988 by WEA. Produced by bass guitarist Nathan East, the album features guest appearances from singer-songwriter and guitarist Eric Clapton and Gang of Four member Andy Gill. The album's style has been described as "an unorthodox and individualistic blend of rock, pop and R&B."