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Ginger Baker

Peter Edward 'Ginger' Baker found his way into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame by playing the drums with a degree of proficiency and expression matched by few others. He first gained fame in the late 1960s with Eric Clapton and Jack Bruce as Cream, a now-legendary band that infused blues and jazz into rock and roll, producing an original and deeply textured sound. In its two-year existence, the English trio sold over 15 million records and played to adoring crowds and critical acclaim. Baker had much to do with the band's success—and likewise much to do with the band's demise. Baker began as an aspiring jazzman and found himself a rock demigod. His brisk, purely businesslike approach caused him problems with his fellow musicians, and drug dependency cast a dark shadow over his career and his relationships.

But since the late 1980s, the 50-year-old-plus father of three has straightened out his personal life, rekindled his interest in jazz, and enjoyed several successful solo and ensemble projects. Born the son of a bricklayer, Baker dreamed as a youth of athletic rather than musical greatness. At the age of 15, he was a champion cyclist, winning a club title and courting aspirations of further success. But music eventually captured his attention. His first instrument, the trumpet, was soon replaced by a pair of drumsticks.

Early on, Baker hoped to become a jazz drummer, playing on London's traditional jazz scene in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Baker's after-school hours were spent jamming with noted jazz musicians Acker Bilk and Terry Lightfoot, as well as sitting in with several others. The bebop sound was his early focus. "When I was at school, I was listening to Max Roach, Philly Joe Jones, Art Blakely, Elvin Jones. Then I was in a trad jazz band, and they wanted me to play the Baby Dodds parts, so they gave me all these records to listen to. That was a complete revolution to me, 'cause all of a sudden you can see where Max and these guys came from. That had an enormous effect, which still comes out," Baker told Musician. Baker's early experience with bebop and traditional jazz honed his technique and helped him acquire an impeccable sense of rhythm. His energetic phrasing makes him more than a timekeeper, giving him more creative impact than many drummers—jazz or otherwise.

He told Down Beat, "When Philly Joe Jones heard me play in London, he came up to me and said, 'Man, you really tell a story when you play.' That's the biggest compliment I've ever had, because I loved Philly Joe Jones. Playing drums is the same as playing a horn. You're saying something musically." After several stints drumming with London jazz outfits, Baker joined Alexis Korner's Blues Inc. The offer was extended following the departure of Charlie Watts, who left to join Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Bill Wyman, and Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones in 1962. With Blues Inc., Baker played with bassist Jack Bruce.

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Ginger Baker's Jazz Confusion in Bergheim

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Read "Why?" reviewed by Phillip Woolever

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Ginger Baker's Jazz Confusion Yoshis Oakland , CA June 15, 2014 Dedicated. Stubborn. Outspoken. Perspicacious. These are some of the descriptions which come to mind when considering the personality and legacy of legendary drummer Ginger Baker. Baker first came to prominence as a member of the rock power trio Cream, with guitarist {{Eric Clapton and bassist Jack Bruce, establishing himself as a role model for many an aspiring teenage rock drummer. Later, ...

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Music Education Monday: A drum lesson and conversation with Ginger Baker

Music Education Monday: A drum lesson and conversation with Ginger Baker

Source: St. Louis Jazz Notes by Dean Minderman

Ginger Baker established himself as a significant musical force while drumming with the 1960s power trio Cream, and over the ensuing decades has continued to impress rock, jazz and world music fans with his technique and imagination. On a personal level, one understandably might have some qualms about getting too close to the infamously irascible percussionist - the 2012 film Beware of Mr. Baker offers ample documentary evidence of his difficult personality - but given the safe distance provided via ...


Interview: Ginger Baker

Interview: Ginger Baker

Source: JazzWax by Marc Myers

Ginger Baker is not a rock drummer. His words, not mine. In today's Wall Street Journal (go here or please buy the paper), I profile Ginger, who, as a founding member of Cream in 1966, revolutionized rock drumming with lengthy, poly-rhythmic solos. In two short years, Ginger put the drums on par with the electric guitar and bass, casting himself as a manic, wild-eyed beat-keeper. [Photo of Ginger Baker above by David Levene] My interview with Ginger took place at ...



Ginger Baker - Horses and Trees (1986, Reissue)

Ginger Baker - Horses and Trees (1986, Reissue)

Source: Something Else!

By Nick DeRiso Fusion in the most complete sense of the word, Ginger Baker's all-too-brief Horses & Trees melds jazz, funk, world music, electronica, reggae, hip-hop and something noiser still. Issued in 1986 on the New York-based art-dance label Celluloid label, this angular, deeply challenging effort was produced by Bill Laswell, who also appears on bass. The victim perhaps of its own complexity, Horses & Trees has been out of print in the U.S. since at least 1995—until now. A ...



Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

Trio, Quartet &...



Goodbye Tour Live 1968

Universal Music Group



Motéma Music


The African Force

ITM Records


Beware Mr. Baker

ITM Records




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