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Jack Bruce: Shadows In The Air

Glenn Astarita By

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Bassist/composer/vocalist Jack Bruce has undoubtedly led a storied musical career. During his days with the power trio “Cream”, the bassist along with guitarist Eric Clapton and drummer Ginger Baker offered novel perspectives on how to incorporate virtuosity into rock-based elements while also melding jazz-style improvisation with blues-drenched motifs deemed suitable for radio airplay. With Shadows in The Air, Bruce surges into refreshingly new terrain, as his somewhat enviable legacy continues to unfold after well-known stints with the ground breaking “Tony Williams Lifetime” band, performances with pioneering guitarists, Allan Holdsworth, Larry Coryell and drummer Billy Cobham amid a series of first-rate solo albums and numerous session dates.

Bruce states: “This is really a trilogy of records I’m planning to do of Latin-influenced music.” Here, the artist employs some of New York City’s finest Latin percussionists along with guest appearances from Eric Clapton who renders a series of scorching, blues/rock solos atop Salsa tinged revisions of Cream’s classic hits - “Sunshine of Your Love” and “White Room.” The piece titled, “Out Into the Fields” was originally recorded with guitarist Leslie West in the band, “West, Bruce and Laing” and features Bruce singing to the heavens in conjunction with guitarist Vernon Reid’s rippling single note lines and the ensemble’s climactic opuses.

Throughout, Bruce employs peppery Afro-Cuban rhythms to subsidize his ringing harmonies and falsetto-upper register choruses. However violinist Alfredo Triff serves up a tasty ostinato motif on the memorably melodic ballad titled, “Directions Home:” A composition dedicated to his ex-“Lifetime” and much-lamented band-mates, organist Larry Young and drummer Tony Williams. Meanwhile, guitarist Gary Moore’s well-placed notes and emotive lyricism on the majestically iterated work, “Dark Heart”, represents just one of the many highlights to be found on this stunningly beautiful and gleefully upbeat recording by one of music’s most revered artisans. Vigorously recommended!

Jack Bruce

Sanctuary Records

AllAboutJazz.com interview with Jack Bruce


Track Listing: Out Into the Fields; 53nd Street; Heart Quake; Boston Ball Game 1967; This Anger

Personnel: Jack Bruce; vocals, piano, bass & acoustic guitar: Guests (on selected tracks); Eric Clapton; guitar: Dr. John; piano, organ: Gary Moore; guitar: Changuito Luis Quintana; congas, quinto & timbales: Vernon Reid; guitar: Musicians: Alfredo Triff; violin: Malcom Bruce; guitar & synth: Milton Cardona; congas: Richie Flores; congas: Robbie Ameen; drums: El Negro Horacio Hernandez; drums: Andy Gonzalez; bass: Jimmy McDonald; accordion: Pirro Rodriguez; trumpet: Miguel Xenon; alto sax: Mario Rivera; tenor sax: Papo Vasquez; trombone:

Title: Shadows In The Air | Year Released: 2001 | Record Label: Sanctuary Records

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