GINGER BAKER - Only one drummer

9. September 2019

Ginger Baker Cream

GINGER BAKER - Nur ein Drummer

He got his influences from jazz greats like Art Blakey, Max Roach or Elvin Jones. In the sixties he became the first star drummer of rock: Ginger Baker, model of several generations of drummers, turned eighty on August 19th.

Among colleagues and journalists, Ginger Baker, who founded the first supergroup in history with Cream in 1966, is considered difficult, to put it mildly. The "Süddeutsche Zeitung" was not so reserved and called him "an asshole". Not for nothing did the young US director Jay Bulger give his film biography about the eccentric living in South Africa with his fourth wife the title "Beware Of Mr. Baker". The film-maker was greeted with a broken nosebleed on his cane - Bulger shows the scene and his bleeding nose at the beginning of the documentary from 2012, where his companions clearly talk about Baker's lack of human qualities ("Wahnsinnig, ein lrrer", "Hurensohn"), but praise the role that the London-born drummer played for the development of drums in rock music. In fact, Baker was a revolutionary because he moved drums from pure rhythm instruments to solo instruments, and he was one of the first rock musicians to recognize the potential of African music. By the way, he called himself a jazz drummer or "just a drummer".

Already at the age of 15 Baker had started playing the drums, in the early 60s he took some lessons with the British jazz musician Phil Seamen, who also introduced him to heroin - it started an ominous liaison with the drug and drugs themselves, which had a lifetime of harming the musician. After his apprenticeship with Seamen, Baker joined Alexis Korner's Blues Incorporated, then the Graham Bond Organization, where he worked with Jack Bruce, to whom he was already averse to each other. That's why he was reluctant to agree when Eric Clapton insisted on the bass player being the third man in the founding phase of Cream. The trio set standards; Baker especially with the use of two bass drums copied from his idols.

Not least his differences with Bruce led to the end of Cream at the end of 1968, which was followed by a short time with Clapton on Blind Faith and a phenomenal LP. Two albums were the result of two years of jazz rock formation Ginger Baker's Airforce. This was followed by the establishment of an own studio in the Nigerian capital Lagos and the collaboration with the Afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti. This phase saw the formation of the hard rock band Baker Gurvitz Army, with which the drummer held out for three LPs. Shorter were his episodes with Hawkwind (1980) and the renewed collaboration with his favourite enemy in the trio Bruce Baker (Gary) Moore from 1993. In the same year Cream played three titles in their recording in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Above all, however, the reunification of 2005 shines with four concerts in the Royal Albert Hall and two in Madison Square Garden. Bruce then described the relationship between him and Baker as "razor-sharp". Thank God they were now living on different continents, the bass player said he wanted Baker, who had settled in South Africa, but asked him to move: "He is still too close

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