David Bowie fans got only a few days to listen to his final record Blackstar simply as art before being hit with the news of his death. The loss of Bowie to cancer at the age of 69, in addition to the knowledge that he’d been living with the disease for 18 months, definitely changes how one hears Blackstar. The lyrics become clear—Bowie was saying goodbye. But the music is equally important, as Bowie—even in his final months—continued to push his art in new directions. For Blackstar, he recruited saxophonist Donny McCaslin and his trio, who brought their jazz chops while still following the artist’s dalliances in pop, R&B and electronic music. “Lazarus” and the title track are dark and sensual, while “’Tis a Pity She Was a Whore” and “Sue (Or in a Season of Crime)” skitter along under synthesizers. Naturally, only Bowie could make jazz fusion sound unpretentious. And only Bowie could turn his own death into a work of art, and do it so beautifully and fearlessly.