The Individual Appreciations

Peter Edward "Ginger" Baker

This was the man who gave me my love of drumming. It was his exciting patterns and flowing style that tuned my ear to African music. He prepared me for the great drummers of Jazz: Elvin Jones, Ed Blackwell, Max Roach, Jack DeJohnette etc.

In the high volume environment of Rock and pre extensive miking of drums, the subtlety of his playing is too easily missed. The remasters have done justice to Ginger (check out the live Sitting On Top Of the World with the opening buzz roll and on!). In the mid ‘70’s he adjusted his style to suit changing times – back to more solid emphasis on the beat as the role of the drummer reverted to the pre-Ginger days. He was the greatest Rock Drummer.

It is great to hear him return to his Jazz roots with his superb Ginger Baker Trio CDs with Bill Frissell and Charlie Haden (Ornette Coleman’s great bassist from the early sixties). On these we hear the Ginger of old, with less fire but more swing and with every nuance of his playing audible. He remains one of the very best drummers in the world.

John (Jack) Asher Bruce

The "Lord of the Lower Frequencies" as Derek describes him. What more needs to be said about his incredible electric bass guitar playing? Well he’s criticised for being too busy – but Jack plays lead bass you dumbos. That’s his concept of the bass!

More people think Michael Bolton is a great singer than have ever heard of Jack Bruce: Jack is a great singer, Bolton ain’t. It’s Jack’s ability to sing ballads, sweet blues and power shouting that makes him so exciting to listen to. The voice as instrument.

Combine the above with a sustained song writing creativity matched by few and you have a giant of Rock Music. Not a superstar, but loved and appreciated by those who like inventive, exciting and interesting music. You mightn’t like everything he’s done but he sure ain’t boring with a career spanning power Rock, Jazz, Jazz Rock and just about everything in between.

Eric Patrick Clapton

A master guitarist and one of the great living blues guitarists. A superstar with a wealth measured in the three figure millions. Eric was always going to be a star.

His journey to fame and wealth has had its ups and downs and tragedies but he has survived. The music along the way has included the great ("Layla & Other Assorted Love Songs") and a fair amount of dross. Even if his solo career has been aware of commercial realities (though always with impeccable taste and timing) he has produced many very fine songs/performances from time to time.

I had got bored with Eric and his solo career after Layla. But when watching Live Aid I realised how great he was, simply by contrast to the current popular bands. He out played and out sang (too my biggest surprise) most of the preening pop/Rock stars of the day. It was the Cream experience that gives him the power to rise above the mundane whenever he wants to.

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