With him, the rock world has lost more than one great bass player: Jack Bruce, who died on 25 October at the age of 71, was also a brilliant composer and an outstanding singer, but above all a great person, as the many comments from colleagues already in his lifetime, but especially after his death show. It was Roger Waters who once called Jack Bruce "probably the most talented bass player of all time", for Eric Clapton, who published the two and a half minute instrumental "For Jack" on his website after the news of the death of his former Cream companion, he was "an enormous inspiration", Ginger Baker was "sad that we've lost a fine man" - the list of tributes, to which Ringo Starr and Geezer Butler also contributed, could be continued for so long. Jimi Hendrix also belonged to the legion of musicians he influenced with his virtuoso bass playing. The former BBC presenter John de Bono even called him the "Miles Davis of Rock".
John Symon Asher Bruce, as his real name was, was born on 14 May 1943 in Lanarkshire, Scotland. His family was poor and moved frequently, with the result that he had attended 14 schools when he moved to high school. His mother encouraged him early on to pursue a musical career; he began as a choir singer, then became a soprano and won several Scottish competitions. He still had stage fright, he told me later, but as a child he almost couldn't stand it: "I alone on stage with a pianist, and everything stared at me while I sang Schubert songs." At the instigation of his mother, he took singing lessons, which had served him well over the years. Bruce: "I learned to sing from the gut, unlike most pop artists who sing from the throat. That's why many of them get voice problems at some point."