Bruce at the Deutsches Jazzfestival, 2007
|Birth name||John Symon Asher Bruce|
|Born||14 May 1943|
Bishopbriggs, Lanarkshire, Scotland
|Died||25 October 2014 71) (aged|
|Genres||Rock, jazz-rock, blues-rock, Latin|
|Labels||Polydor, Atco, RSO, Epic, CMP, Sanctuary, Esoteric|
|Associated acts||Blues Incorporated, The Graham Bond Organisation, John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers, Manfred Mann, Cream, The Tony Williams Lifetime, West, Bruce and Laing, Rocket 88, Robin Trower, Kip Hanrahan, BBM, Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band|
John Symon Asher Bruce (14 May 1943 – 25 October 2014) was a Scottish musician, singer and songwriter known primarily for his contributions to the British supergroup Cream, which also included the guitarist-singer Eric Clapton and the drummer Ginger Baker. In March 2011 Rolling Stone readers selected him as the eighth greatest bass guitarist of all time. "Most musicians would have a very hard time distinguishing themselves if they wound up in a band with Eric Clapton and Ginger Baker," the magazine said at the time, "but Jack Bruce was so gifted on the bass that he did it with ease."
A supergroup is a musical performing group whose members have successful solo careers, are members of other groups, or are well known in other musical professions. The term is usually used in the context of rock and pop music, but it has occasionally been applied to other musical genres. For example, The Three Tenors—composed of opera superstars José Carreras, Plácido Domingo, and Luciano Pavarotti—or Rainbow have been called a supergroup.
Cream were a British rock band formed in London in 1966. The group consisted of lead vocalist/bassist Jack Bruce, guitarist/vocalist Eric Clapton and drummer Ginger Baker. The group's third album, Wheels of Fire (1968), is the world's first platinum-selling double album. The band is widely regarded as the world's first successful supergroup. In their career, they sold more than 15 million records worldwide. Their music included songs based on traditional blues such as "Crossroads" and "Spoonful", and modern blues such as "Born Under a Bad Sign", as well as more current material such as "Strange Brew", "Tales of Brave Ulysses" and "Toad".
Eric Patrick Clapton, is an English rock and blues guitarist, singer, and songwriter. He is the only three-time inductee to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: once as a solo artist and separately as a member of the Yardbirds and of Cream. Clapton has been referred to as one of the most important and influential guitarists of all time. Clapton ranked second in Rolling Stone magazine's list of the "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time" and fourth in Gibson's "Top 50 Guitarists of All Time". He was also named number five in Time magazine's list of "The 10 Best Electric Guitar Players" in 2009.
Bruce maintained a solo career that spanned several decades and also played in several musical groups. Although recognized first and foremost as a vocalist, bassist and songwriter, he also played double bass, harmonica, piano, cello and guitar. He was trained as a classical cellist and considered himself a jazz musician, although much of his catalogue of compositions and recordings tended toward rock and blues.
A bassist or bass player, is a musician who plays a bass instrument such as a double bass, bass guitar, keyboard bass or a low brass instrument such as a tuba or sousaphone. Different musical genres tend to be associated with one or more of these instruments. Since the 1960s, the electric bass has been the standard bass instrument for funk, R&B, soul music, rock and roll, reggae, jazz fusion, heavy metal, country and pop music. The double bass is the standard bass instrument for classical music, bluegrass, rockabilly, and most genres of jazz. Low brass instruments such as the tuba or sousaphone are the standard bass instrument in Dixieland and New Orleans-style jazz bands.
The double bass, or simply the bass, is the largest and lowest-pitched bowed string instrument in the modern symphony orchestra.
Rock music is a broad genre of popular music that originated as "rock and roll" in the United States in the early 1950s, and developed into a range of different styles in the 1960s and later, particularly in the United Kingdom and in the United States. It has its roots in 1940s and 1950s rock and roll, a style which drew heavily on the genres of blues, rhythm and blues, and from country music. Rock music also drew strongly on a number of other genres such as electric blues and folk, and incorporated influences from jazz, classical and other musical styles. Musically, rock has centered on the electric guitar, usually as part of a rock group with electric bass, drums, and one or more singers. Usually, rock is song-based music usually with a 4/4 time signature using a verse–chorus form, but the genre has become extremely diverse. Like pop music, lyrics often stress romantic love but also address a wide variety of other themes that are frequently social or political.
Bruce was born on 14 May 1943 in Bishopbriggs, Lanarkshire, to Betty (Asher) and Charlie Bruce,musical parents who moved frequently, resulting in the young Bruce attending 14 different schools, ending up at Bellahouston Academy. He began playing jazz bass in his teens and won a scholarship to study cello and musical composition at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama while playing in Jim McHarg's Scotsville Jazzband to support himself.
Bishopbriggs is a town in East Dunbartonshire, Scotland. It lies on the northern fringe of Greater Glasgow, approximately 4 miles (6 km) from the City Centre. Historically in Lanarkshire, the area was once part of the historic parish of Cadder - originally lands granted by King William the Lion to the Bishop of Glasgow, Jocelin, in 1180. It was later part of the county of Lanarkshire, and then an independent burgh from 1964 to 1975. Today, Bishopbriggs' close geographic proximity to Glasgow now effectively makes it a suburb and commuter town of the city. The town's Gaelic name Coille Dobhair reflects the name of the old parish of Cadder. It was ranked the 2nd most desirable postcode in Scotland to live in following a study by the Centre for Economic and Business Research in 2015 and 2016.
Lanarkshire, also called the County of Lanark is a historic county in the central Lowlands of Scotland.
Bellahouston Academy is a non-denominational state-run secondary school in Bellahouston, south-west Glasgow, Scotland.
After leaving school he toured Italy, playing double bass with the Murray Campbell Big Band.In 1962 Bruce became a member of the London-based band Blues Incorporated, led by Alexis Korner, in which he played the upright bass. The band also included organist Graham Bond, saxophonist Dick Heckstall-Smith and drummer Ginger Baker. In 1963 the group broke up, and Bruce went on to form the Graham Bond Quartet with Bond, Baker and guitarist John McLaughlin. They played an eclectic range of music genres, including bebop, blues and rhythm and blues. As a result of session work, Bruce switched from the upright bass to the electric bass guitar. The move to electric bass happened as McLaughlin was dropped from the band; he was replaced by Heckstall-Smith on saxophone, and the band pursued a more concise R&B sound and changed their name to the Graham Bond Organisation. The group released two studio albums and several singles but were not commercially successful.
Blues Incorporated were an English blues band formed in London in 1961, led by Alexis Korner and including at various times Jack Bruce, Charlie Watts, Terry Cox, Davy Graham, Ginger Baker, Art Wood, Long John Baldry, Ronnie Jones, Danny Thompson, Graham Bond, Cyril Davies, Malcolm Cecil and Dick Heckstall-Smith.
Alexis Andrew Nicholas Koerner, known professionally as Alexis Korner, was a British blues musician and radio broadcaster, who has sometimes been referred to as "a founding father of British blues". A major influence on the sound of the British music scene in the 1960s, Korner was instrumental in the formation of several notable British bands including The Rolling Stones and Free.
Graham John Clifton Bond was an English musician and occultist, considered a founding father of the English rhythm and blues boom of the 1960s.
During the time that Bruce and Baker played with the Graham Bond Organisation, they were known for their hostility towards each other. There were numerous stories of the two sabotaging each other's equipment and fighting on stage. Relations grew so bad between the two that Bruce left the group in August 1965.After leaving, Bruce recorded a solo single, "I'm Gettin Tired", for Polydor Records. He joined John Mayall and his Bluesbreakers group, which featured guitarist Eric Clapton. Bruce's stay was brief, and he did not contribute to any releases at the time, but recordings featuring him were later released, initially on Looking Back and Primal Solos.
Polydor is a British record label and company, that operates as part of Universal Music Group. It has a close relationship with Universal's Interscope Geffen A&M Records label, which distributes Polydor's releases in the United States. In turn, Polydor distributes Interscope releases in the United Kingdom. Polydor Records Ltd. was established in London in 1954 as a British subsidiary of German company Deutsche Grammophon GmbH. It was renamed Polydor Ltd. in 1972.
John Mayall, OBE is an English blues singer, guitarist, organist and songwriter, whose musical career spans over sixty years. In the 1960s, he was the founder of John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers, a band which has counted among its members some of the most famous blues and blues rock musicians. They include Eric Clapton, Peter Green, Jack Bruce, John McVie, Mick Fleetwood, Mick Taylor, Don "Sugarcane" Harris, Harvey Mandel, Larry Taylor, Aynsley Dunbar, Hughie Flint, Jon Hiseman, Dick Heckstall-Smith, Andy Fraser, Johnny Almond, Walter Trout, Coco Montoya, Kal David, and Buddy Whittington.
John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers was an English blues rock band, led by singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist John Mayall, OBE. While never producing a radio-friendly hit on their own, the Bluesbreakers' greatest legacy is as an incubator for British rock and blues musicians. Many of the best known bands to come out of Britain in the 1960s and 1970s had members that came through the Bluesbreakers at one time, forming the foundation of British blues music that still appears heavily in classic rock radio. Among those with a tenure in the Bluesbreakers are Eric Clapton and Jack Bruce, Peter Green, Mick Fleetwood, and John McVie, Mick Taylor, Aynsley Dunbar, and numerous other musicians.
After the Bluesbreakers, Bruce had his first commercial success as a member of Manfred Mann in 1966, including "Pretty Flamingo", which reached number one in the UK singles chart (one of two number one records of his career - the other being an uncredited bass part on The Scaffold's "Lily the Pink")as well as the freewheeling and groundbreaking jazz rock of Instrumental Asylum . When interviewed on the edition of the VH1 show Classic Albums which featured Disraeli Gears , Mayall said that Bruce had been lured away by the lucrative commercial success of Manfred Mann, while Mann himself recalled that Bruce played his first gig with the band without any rehearsal, playing the songs straight through without error, commenting that perhaps the chord changes seemed obvious to Bruce.
Manfred Mann were an English rock band, formed in London in 1962. The group were named after their keyboardist Manfred Mann, who later led the successful 1970s group Manfred Mann's Earth Band. The band had two different lead vocalists during their period of success, Paul Jones from 1962 to 1966, and Mike d'Abo from 1966 to 1969.
"Pretty Flamingo" is a song written by Mark Barkan, which became a hit in 1966 when Manfred Mann's recording of it was released as a single. The single reached number one in the UK Singles Chart on 5 May 1966. Manfred Mann's recording was a minor hit in the United States where it spent eight weeks on Billboard 's Hot 100 chart, peaking at number 29 during the week of August 6, 1966. It was also successful in Ireland, and was number one there for four weeks, keeping the Rolling Stones' "Paint It Black" at number two.
The Scaffold were a comedy, poetry and music trio from Liverpool, England, consisting of musical performer Mike McGear, poet Roger McGough and comic entertainer John Gorman.
While with Manfred Mann, Bruce again collaborated with Clapton as a member of Powerhouse, which also featured Spencer Davis Group vocalist Steve Winwood, credited as "Steve Anglo". Three tracks were featured on the Elektra sampler album What's Shakin' . Two of the songs, "Crossroads" and "Steppin' Out", became staples in the live set of his next band, Cream.
In July 1966 Bruce, Eric Clapton and Ginger Baker founded the power trio Cream, which gained international recognition playing blues-rock and jazz-inflected rock music. Bruce sang most of the lead vocals, with Clapton backing him up and eventually assuming some leads himself.
With his Gibson EB-3 electric bass, Bruce became one of the most famous bassists in rock, winning musicians' polls and influencing the next generation of bassists such as Sting, Jim Shaw, Geddy Lee and Jeff Berlin.Bruce co-wrote most of Cream's single releases with lyricist Pete Brown, including the hits "Sunshine of Your Love", "White Room" and "I Feel Free". Cream broke up in 1968.
Collaborative efforts with musicians, in many genres – hard rock, jazz, blues, R&B, fusion, avant-garde, world music, third stream classical – continued as a theme of Bruce's career. Alongside these he produced a long line of highly regarded solo albums. In contrast to his collaborative works, the solo albums usually maintain a common theme: melodic songs with a complex musical structure, songs with lyrics frequently penned by Pete Brown and a core band of world-class musicians. This structure was loosened on his live solo albums and DVDs, where extended improvisations similar to those employed by Cream in live performance were sometimes still used.
In August 1968, before Cream officially disbanded, Bruce recorded a semi-acoustic free jazz album with John McLaughlin, Dick Heckstall-Smith and Jon Hiseman.This was issued in 1970 as Bruce's second solo album, Things We Like . The album was a precursor to the jazz fusion boom in the early 1970s, and more recently has been sampled by many hip hop artists Artifacts and Smif-N-Wessun.
Bruce's first solo release, Songs for a Tailor , was issued in September 1969; it too featured Heckstall-Smith and Hiseman.It was a worldwide hit, but after a brief supporting tour backed by Larry Coryell and Mitch Mitchell, Bruce joined the jazz fusion group Lifetime, with drummer Tony Williams, guitarist McLaughlin, and organist Larry Young, for its second album, Turn It Over (1970). For the group's third album, Ego (1971), Ron Carter replaced Bruce on bass, but Bruce contributed a guest vocal. Bruce then recorded his third solo album Harmony Row , but this was not as commercially successful as Songs for a Tailor. The song "The Consul at Sunset" from Harmony Row, which was inspired by the Malcolm Lowry novel Under the Volcano , was released as a single in 1971 (Polydor 2058-153, b/w "A Letter of Thanks"), but did not chart.
In 1972 Bruce formed a blues rock power trio, West, Bruce & Laing. Besides Bruce, the group included singer/guitarist Leslie West and drummer Corky Laing, both formerly of the Cream-influenced American band Mountain. West, Bruce & Laing produced two studio albums, Why Dontcha and Whatever Turns You On , and one live album, Live 'n' Kickin' .
The band's breakup was announced shortly before Live 'n' Kickin's release in early 1974, and Bruce released his fourth solo album Out of the Storm later that year. Also in 1974 he featured on the title track of Frank Zappa's album Apostrophe (') , recorded in November 1972. Bruce was credited with bass and co-authorship on the improvised track. When asked about Zappa in a 1992 interview, Bruce tried to change the subject and jokingly insisted that he had played only cello parts. Outtakes from the session were released on the archival release The Crux Of The Biscuit in 2016. In 1973 Bruce recorded bass guitar for Lou Reed's Berlin album, playing on all but two tracks.
A 1975 tour was lined up to support the Out of the Storm album with a band featuring former Rolling Stones guitarist Mick Taylor and jazz keyboard player Carla Bley, with whom he had collaborated in 1971 on Escalator over the Hill . The tour was belatedly documented on Live at Manchester Free Trade Hall '75 (2003),but it ended with Taylor's departure, and sessions for a studio album were abandoned. During the next year, Bruce only resurfaced to play on Charlie Mariano's Helen 12 Trees album.
In 1976 Bruce formed a new band with drummer Simon Phillips and keyboardist Tony Hymas. The group recorded an album, called How's Tricks . A world tour followed, but the album was a commercial failure.The follow-up album, Jet Set Jewel , was rejected at the time by Bruce's record label RSO as not being marketable, and RSO ultimately dropped Bruce from their roster. In 1979 he toured with members from the Mahavishnu Orchestra, reuniting him with John McLaughlin, and introducing him to drummer Billy Cobham. A 3-CD collection of his 1970s BBC recordings, entitled Spirit, was released in 2008.
By 1979, Bruce's drug habit had reached such a level that he had lost most of his money. Bruce contributed as a session musician to recordings by Cozy Powell, Gary Moore and Jon Anderson to raise money. By 1980 his career was back on track with his new band, Jack Bruce & Friends, consisting of drummer Billy Cobham, guitarist Clem Clempson and keyboardist/guitarist David Sancious. After releasing an album, I've Always Wanted to Do This , at the end of 1980, they undertook a long tour to support the record, but it was not a commercial success and they disbanded. In the early 1980s, he also joined up to play with friends from his Alexis Korner days in Rocket 88, the back-to-the-roots band that Ian Stewart had arranged, and Bruce appears on the album of the same name, recorded live in Germany in 1980. They also recorded a "live in the studio" album called Blues & Boogie Explosion for the German audiophile record label Jeton. That year he also collaborated on the Soft Machine album Land of Cockayne (1981).
In 1981, Bruce collaborated with guitarist Robin Trower and released two power trio albums, B.L.T. and Truce , the first of which was a minor hit in the US.By 1983, Bruce was no longer contracted to a major record company and released his next solo album, Automatic , on a minor German label, Intercord. A European tour followed to promote the album enlisting Bruce Gary from the Knack (who had also played in Bruce's 1975 band) on drums and Sancious from his 1980 band (Jack Bruce & Friends) on guitar and keyboards. In 1982, Bruce played with a short-lived ensemble A Gathering of Minds, composed of Billy Cobham, Allan Holdsworth, Didier Lockwood and David Sancious at Montreux. In 1983, Bruce sang on tracks 5 and 6 of the Allan Holdsworth album Road Games .
In 1983 Bruce began working with the Latin/world music producer Kip Hanrahan, and released the collaborative albums Desire Develops an Edge, Vertical's Currency, A Few Short Notes from the End Run, Exotica and All Roads Are Made of the Flesh. They were all critically successful, and in 2001 he went on to form his own band using Hanrahan's famous Cuban rhythm section. Other than his partnership with lyricist Pete Brown, Bruce's musical relationship with Hanrahan was the most consistent and long-lasting of his career.
In 1985 he sang lead and played blues harp on the song "Silver Bullet" with Anton Fier's Golden Palominos. It appears on the album Visions of Excess. In 1986 he re-recorded the Cream song "I Feel Free" and released it as a single to support an advertising campaign for the Renault 21 motor car.
In 1989 Bruce secured his first major record deal in a decade, with Epic, and recorded A Question of Time . This included two tracks with Ginger Baker on drums, their first collaboration since Cream.Baker then joined Bruce's live band and toured the United States at the turn of the decade.
Bruce played at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 1990, and was invited by the Irish blues rock performer, Rory Gallagher (who had a long-standing relationship with Bruce, having supported Cream's farewell concert in the band Taste in 1968) to perform a couple of songs together on stage. In 1991 he was one of the supporting musicians for Vivian Stanshall's solo show "Rawlinson Dog-ends", but quit over a lack of adequate rehearsals.In 1993, a solo album, Somethin Els , reunited him with Eric Clapton and brought belated, but widespread, critical acclaim.
Later that year, Ginger Baker and a host of former Bruce band colleagues joined him for two special 50th birthdays concerts in Cologne, Germany, hosted by the TV show Rockpalast. Selections from these were released as the live double CD Cities of the Heart , and much later as the DVD set Rockpalast: The 50th Birthdays Concerts. One special guest was the Irish blues-rock guitarist Gary Moore, who joined Bruce and Baker for a set of Cream classics. Inspired by this performance, the three formed the power trio BBM and their subsequent (and only) album, Around the Next Dream, was a top ten hit in the UK.However, the old arguments between Bruce and Baker arose again, and the subsequent tour was cut short and the band broke up. A low-key solo album, Monkjack , followed in 1995, featuring Bruce on piano and vocals, accompanied only by the Funkadelic organist Bernie Worrell.
Bruce then began work producing and arranging the soundtrack to the independently produced Scottish film The Slab Boys , with; Lulu, Edwyn Collins, Eddi Reader and the Proclaimers. The soundtrack album appeared in 1997. In 1997 he returned to touring as a member of Ringo Starr's All-Starr Band, which also featured Peter Frampton on guitar. At the gig in Denver, Colorado, the band was joined onstage by Ginger Baker, and Bruce, Baker and Frampton played a short set of Cream classics. Bruce continued to tour with Starr through 2000.
In 2001 Bruce reappeared with a band featuring Bernie Worrell, Vernon Reid of Living Colour on guitar and Kip Hanrahan's three-piece Latin rhythm section. Hanrahan also produced the accompanying album Shadows in the Air , which included a reunion with Eric Clapton on a new version of "Sunshine of Your Love". The band released another Hanrahan produced studio album, More Jack than God , in 2003, and a live DVD, Live at the Canterbury Fayre.
Bruce had suffered a period of declining health, after many years of addictions which he finally beat with clinical treatment, and in 2003 was diagnosed with liver cancer.In September 2003, he underwent a liver transplant, which was almost fatal, as his body initially rejected the new organ. He recovered, and in 2004 re-appeared to perform "Sunshine of Your Love" at a Rock Legends concert in Germany organised by the singer Mandoki.
In May 2005, he reunited with former Cream bandmates Clapton and Baker for a series of well-received concerts at London's Royal Albert Hall,released as the album Royal Albert Hall London May 2-3-5-6, 2005 , and New York's Madison Square Garden.
In between the UK and U.S. Cream dates, he also played live with Gary Moore and drummer Gary Husband at the Dick Heckstall-Smith tribute concert in London.
Subsequent concert appearances by Bruce were sparse because of recovery after the transplant, but in 2006 he returned to the live arena with a show of Cream and solo classics performed with the German HR (Hessischer Rundfunk) Big Band. This was released on CD in Germany in 2007. In 2007, he made a brief concert appearance, opening a new rehearsal hall named in his honour at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, Glasgow with Clem Clempson, keyboard player Ronnie Leahy and Husband.
In 2008, Bruce collaborated again with guitarist Robin Trower on the album Seven Moons. It also featured Husband.
In May 2008 Bruce was 65 years old and to commemorate this milestone two box sets of recordings were released. Spirit is a three-CD collection of Bruce's BBC recordings from the 1970s. Can You Follow? is a six-CD retrospective anthology released by the Esoteric label in the UK. This anthology is a wide-ranging collection covering his music from 1963 to 2003 and, aside from his work with Kip Hanrahan, is a comprehensive overview of his career.
Improved health led to Bruce playing a series of live outdoor concerts across the US starting in July 2008 as part of the Hippiefest Tour. He was supported by members of the late Who bassist John Entwistle's the John Entwistle Band, and headlined at a tribute concert to the bassist.
In November 2008 he recorded a concert in Birmingham, England for Radio Broadcast with the BBC Big Band, where he again played the Big Band arrangements of his classic songs. In December he was reunited with Ginger Baker at the drummer's Lifetime Achievement Award concert in London. They played jazz classics with saxophonist Courtney Pine and for the first time in 40 years played the Graham Bond–Cream classic "Traintime".
The same month, Bruce, with guitarist Vernon Reid, drummer Cindy Blackman and organist John Medeski played a series of Blue Note Club tribute concerts to the Tony Williams Lifetime in Japan. These shows were broadcast in high definition on television in Japan.
In 2009 Bruce performed in a series of concerts with Trower and Husband in Europe. Proposed dates in the U.S. in April were cancelled because of a further bout of ill health. Bruce recovered and the band played summer concerts in Italy, Norway and the UK during 2009. This promoted the release of the Seven Moons live CD and DVD, recorded in February during the European leg of the tour in Nijmegen, Netherlands.
During the Scottish dates of the 2009 tour Bruce was presented with an Honorary Doctorate of Letters from Glasgow Caledonian University for services to the culture of Glasgow and music in general.
In August 2009, the 1983 Bruce solo album Automatic was re-released, making his entire solo catalogue available on CD. In addition, all of the discs up to and including How's Tricks contain previously unreleased material.
In October 2009, Bruce performed at the 50th anniversary of Ronnie Scott's Club with the Ronnie Scott's Blues Band.
Jack Bruce - Composing Himself: The Authorized Biography by Harry Shapiro was released by Jawbone Press in February 2010. Shapiro had previously written biographies of Bruce collaborators Alexis Korner, Graham Bond and Eric Clapton. The book followed memoirs from his Cream bandmates Clapton (Clapton, 2007) and Baker (Hellraiser, 2009). His songwriting partner, Pete Brown's, biography White Rooms & Imaginary Westerns was published in September 2010. They each have differing recollections of forming Cream, playing and writing together.
On 14 January, at the 2011 North American Music Merchants Show, Bruce became only the third recipient of the International Bassist Award, a lifetime achievement award for bassists, after Jaco Pastorius and Nathan Watts.
His first independent CD release, Live at the Milky Way, Amsterdam 2001, featuring The Cuicoland Express, his Latin-based band of the time, was issued in October 2010. The double album received an official worldwide release, distributed by EMI in February 2011. To support this release Bruce again played four dates in London at Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club with the Ronnie Scott's Blues Experience, followed by a further ten dates across the UK with the band. On 4 June 2011, Bruce played a special concert at the Royal Festival Hall in London, which was celebrating its 60th anniversary. The evening celebrated the 50th anniversary of the blues in Great Britain, and Bruce played with his Big Blues Band and special guest Joe Bonamassa.
Bruce started 2012 playing the Gerry Rafferty tribute concert in Glasgow, followed by a date with the traditional Celtic band Lau. BBC Scotland recorded a one-hour special on Bruce, which also included a performance with Lau. The completed documentary Jack Bruce – The Man behind the Bass was transmitted in February 2012 by BBC Scotland. It featured new interviews with Bruce, Clapton, Baker and Brown. It was transmitted again on 9 November 2014 on BBC2 Scotland and on 17 November 2014 on BBC4 in the UK.
February 2012 saw Bruce playing in Havana, Cuba, along with guitarist Phil Manzanera, supporting the mambo band of Augusto Enriquez. March saw another residency at Ronnie Scott's in London supported by his Big Blues Band, followed by a UK tour. The concert at the Stables, Milton Keynes on 18 March was due to be recorded as an Instant Live CD release, but technical issues prevented this. The following evenings' performance at the same location was recorded and a 2CD version issued by Instant Live.
Spectrum Road, a collaboration with Vernon Reid, Cindy Blackman and John Medeski in tribute to The Tony Williams Lifetime, was released in June 2012 by the US jazz record label Palmetto Recordsand was accompanied by a series of dates at large jazz festivals in North America and Europe throughout June and July.
In March 2014, Bruce released Silver Rails on the Esoteric Antenna label, his first solo studio album in over a decade.Silver Rails was recorded at Abbey Road Studios in London, produced and mixed by Rob Cass and features contributions from Cream lyricist, Pete Brown, Kip Hanrahan and wife Margrit Seyffer as well as musicians Robin Trower, Cindy Blackman, Phil Manzanera, Uli Jon Roth, John Medeski and Bernie Marsden. The deluxe version of the album featured a behind the scenes documentary "The Making of Silver Rails" which was filmed on location at the studios and directed by Bruce's daughter Kyla Simone Bruce. This film was shown on the BBC Channel Four website on the BBC iPlayer starting on 17 November 2014 and ran for 30 days Bruce's son Malcolm Bruce pre-produced the album and played guitar on several tracks, while Bruce's daughter Aruba Red was featured on "Hidden Cities" singing backing vocals.
In 1964 Bruce married Janet Godfrey, who had been the secretary of the Graham Bond Organisation fan club and had collaborated with Bruce on two songs written for the group.Together, Godfrey and Bruce had two sons, Jonas (Jo) Bruce, who grew up to play keyboards in his father's band and formed a band called Afro Celt Sound System, and Malcolm Bruce, who grew up to play the guitar with his father and played with Ginger Baker's son, Kofi. Jonas died in 1997 from respiratory problems.
In 1982 he married his second wife, Margrit Seyffer.With her he had two daughters, Natascha, known professionally as Aruba Red and Kyla, and a son Corin.
Bruce died of liver disease on 25 October 2014, in Suffolk, England, aged 71.He was survived by his wife, Margrit, as well as four children; Malcolm Bruce, Aruba Red, Kyla Simone Bruce, Corin Bruce and granddaughter Maya Sage. His son, musician and songwriter Jonas "Jo" Bruce, died in 1997.
His funeral was held in London on 5 November 2014 and was attended by Clapton, Baker and noted musicians Phil Manzanera, Gary Brooker, Vernon Reid and Nitin Sawhney among others. Dozens assembled at the Golders Green Crematorium paying a last tribute singing "Morning Has Broken", "Strawberry Fields Forever" and "Theme for an Imaginary Western". Bruce's remains were later crematedand then buried at a private family ceremony on 31 December 2014 at the crematorium.
This section contains too many or too-lengthy quotations for an encyclopedic entry. (July 2018)
Writing in The Sunday Times in 2008, Dan Cairns had suggested: "many consider him to be one of the greatest bass players of all time."Steve Anderson, writing in The Independent said ".. he became one of the most famous and influential bass players in rock." Roger Waters of Pink Floyd recently described Bruce as "probably the most musically gifted bass player who's ever been." Eric Clapton posted on Facebook about Bruce "He was a great musician and composer, and a tremendous inspiration to me" and composed an acoustic song in his honour and Ginger Baker wrote "I am very sad to learn of the loss of a fine man, Jack Bruce ... My thoughts and wishes are with his family at this difficult time." Guitarist Leslie West, of rock group Mountain, posted on Facebook, "It is with great sadness that one of the worlds greatest musicians and bass players, who I had the honor of playing with in West Bruce and Laing, Jack Bruce has died. I was hoping somehow that we might have gotten together one last time. Rest in Peace my friend." Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi said on Twitter that Bruce had been his favourite bass player, saying "He was a hero to so many" and Black Sabbath bassist Geezer Butler regarded him as his "biggest influence and favourite bass player". Guitarist John McLaughlin said on Twitter, "Very sad to have lost my old friend Jack Bruce." Long-standing collaborator Robin Trower wrote on Facebook, "It has always been a great source of pride to me to have made music with Jack (one of the few musicians that can be truly called a force of nature) and Jack and I were proud of that music. He will be greatly missed". Fellow bassist Billy Cox also posted a tribute to Bruce on Facebook. Writing in The Daily Telegraph , Neil McCormick said, "There was a time when Jack Bruce was synonymous with the bass guitar in rock history, when he was widely revered as the best there was on four strings." Rush bassist and singer Geddy Lee wrote: "The sudden passing of Jack Bruce is terribly sad news. One of the greatest rock bassists to ever live and a true and profound inspiration to countless musicians. He was one of my first bass heroes and was a major influence on my playing and my music. My heartfelt condolences to his family and fans." In March 2015, a tribute concert at London's Roundhouse scheduled for 24 October 2015 was announced. Guest artists confirmed were, Joss Stone, Phil Manzanera, Ginger Baker, Ian Anderson and Mark King and musical director Nitin Sawhney.
|August 1969||Songs for a Tailor||55||6|
|December 1970||Things We Like||Recorded August 1968|
|August 1971||Harmony Row|
|November 1974||Out of the Storm||160|
|March 1977||How's Tricks||153|
|Late 1978||Jet Set Jewel||Unreleased until 2003|
|December 1980||I've Always Wanted to Do This|
|October 1989||A Question of Time|
|March 1993||Somethin Els|
|July 2001||Shadows in the Air|
|September 2003||More Jack than God|
|March 2014||Silver Rails|
|1971–1978||Spirit (Live at the BBC 1971–1978)||Triple CD box set, omits 1980 shows, released 2008|
|1 June 1975||Live at Manchester Free Trade Hall '75||Double CD, released 2003|
|6 June 1975, 8 January 1980||Live on The Old Grey Whistle Test||Mono, 1975 show incomplete, includes 1980 show, released 1998|
|20 November 1980||Doing This ... On Ice!||Also released as Concert Classics Vol.9, Bird Alone, (A)live in America, etc.|
|2-3 November 1993||Cities of the Heart||Double CD of the 50th Birthday Concerts, released 1994|
|20 October 2001||Jack Bruce & The Cuicoland Express: Live at the Milky Way||Double CD, released 2010|
|26 October 2006||Live with the HR Big Band||Re-released in 2015 with DVD as More Jack Than Blues|
|18 March 2012||Jack Bruce & His Big Blues Band – Live 2012||Double CD, released 2012|
|1972||At His Best||Double LP|
|1989||Willpower: A Twenty Year Retrospective||CD, double LP|
|May 2008||Can You Follow?||6-CD box set|
|October 2015||Sunshine Of Your Love - A Life In Music||Double CD|
|1971||Rope Ladder To The Moon||Documentary directed by Tony Palmer, 55 minutes, released 2010|
|19 October 1980||Jack Bruce and Friends In Concert||Live on Rockpalast , 105 minutes, released 2002|
|1980, 1983, 1990||Jack Bruce at Rockpalast||Double DVD, 3 concerts, 283 minutes, released 2005|
|2-3 November 1993||Rockpalast: The 50th Birthday Concerts||Double DVD + CD (The Lost Tracks), 235 minutes, released 2014|
|24 August 2002||Live at the Canterbury Fayre||With The Cuicoland Express, 76 minutes, released 2003|
|26 October 2006||More Jack Than Blues||With the HR Big Band, 83 minutes, released 2015|
Peter Edward "Ginger" Baker is an English drummer and a founder of the rock band Cream. His work in the 1960s earned him the reputation of "rock's first superstar drummer," while his individual style melds a jazz background with African rhythms. Baker is credited as a pioneer of drumming in genres like jazz fusion, heavy metal and world music.
Blind Faith were an English blues rock supergroup, composed of Steve Winwood, Eric Clapton, Ginger Baker and Ric Grech, and active in 1969. The band was eagerly anticipated by the music press as a continuation of Clapton and Baker's former group Cream and Winwood's former group Traffic, but split after one album and tour.
Wheels of Fire is the third album by the British rock band Cream. It was released in August 1968 as a two-disc vinyl LP, with one disc recorded in the studio and the other recorded live. It reached number three in the United Kingdom and number one in the United States, becoming the world's first platinum-selling double album. In May 2012, Rolling Stone magazine ranked it number 205 on its list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.
Goodbye is the fourth and final studio album by Cream, with three tracks recorded live, and three recorded in the studio. It was released in Europe by Polydor Records and by Atco Records in the United States, debuting in Billboard on 15 February 1969. It reached number one in the United Kingdom and number two in the US. A single, "Badge", was subsequently released from the album a month later. The album was released after Cream disbanded in November 1968.
Richard Malden Heckstall-Smith was an English jazz and blues saxophonist. He played with some of the most influential English blues rock and jazz fusion bands of the 1960s and 1970s.
"Sunshine of Your Love" is a 1967 song by the British rock band Cream. With elements of hard rock, psychedelia, and pop, it is one of Cream's best known and most popular songs. Cream bassist and vocalist Jack Bruce based it on a distinctive bass riff, he developed after attending a Jimi Hendrix concert. Guitarist Eric Clapton and lyricist Pete Brown later contributed to the song. Recording engineer Tom Dowd suggested the rhythm arrangement in which drummer Ginger Baker plays a distinctive tom-tom drum rhythm, although Baker has claimed it was his idea.
The Graham Bond Organisation were a British jazz/rhythm and blues group of the early 1960s consisting of Graham Bond, Jack Bruce (bass), Ginger Baker (drums), Dick Heckstall-Smith and John McLaughlin (guitar). They recorded several albums and further recordings were issued when the group's members achieved fame in progressive rock and jazz fusion. The spelling of the band's original name varied between releases, often depending on the intended audience. The British English spelled as "Organisation" or "ORGANisation", while in some other countries outside the UK spelled "Organization".
"White Room" is a song by British rock band Cream, composed by bassist Jack Bruce with lyrics by poet Pete Brown. They recorded it for the studio half of the 1968 double album Wheels of Fire. In September, a shorter US single edit was released for AM radio stations, although album-oriented FM radio stations played the full album version. The subsequent UK single release in January 1969 used the full-length album version of the track.
Colosseum were a pioneering English progressive jazz-rock band, mixing blues, rock and jazz-based improvisation.
Eric Clapton and the Powerhouse was a British blues rock studio group formed in 1966. They recorded three songs, which were released on the Elektra Records sampler album What's Shakin' in 1966. A possible fourth song remained unreleased.
Gary Husband is an English jazz and rock drummer, pianist, and bandleader. He is best known for his emotive and dynamic style on both his primary instruments, the keyboards and the drums. He is also a composer, arranger and producer.
"We're Going Wrong" is a song by British supergroup Cream from the album Disraeli Gears. The song was written by bassist Jack Bruce and was the only song on Gears that Jack wrote without lyricist Pete Brown.
"Steppin' Out" is a blues-instrumental composition recorded by American blues musician Memphis Slim in 1959. It was released by Vee-Jay Records as a single and on Slim's At the Gate of the Horn album. Although both releases list L. C. Frazier as the writer, Vee-Jay owner James Bracken is often credited on versions by other performers.
Things We Like is an instrumental jazz album by Scottish musician Jack Bruce.
"Doing That Scrapyard Thing" is a song from the supergroup Cream's 1969 farewell album, Goodbye. Written by the band's bassist, Jack Bruce, as well as poet Pete Brown, the song, alongside Eric Clapton's "Badge" and Ginger Baker's "What a Bringdown," was one of Cream's final studio recordings.
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