Cream drummer pays tribute to one-off talents of ‘Wee Jack’
Renowned drummer Ginger Baker has paid tribute to “one-off” Cream bandmate Jack Bruce after he died at 71.
Baker, who is just as famous for his outstanding drumming skills as his wild exploits, said he first thought the news of Bruce’s death was a hoax because he has himself been reported dead before.
Bruce, Baker and Eric Clapton’s short-lived but highly influential 1960s super group Cream scored hits with classic tracks such as Sunshine of Your Love, I Feel Free and White Room.
It was left to Bruce to write and sing most of the songs, in addition to playing bass guitar.
Speaking from a hotel in the Republic of Ireland, Baker, 75, said: “We go back a long way, I called him Wee Jack. It’s a big loss to the world and I’m very sad.
“I found out yesterday when my daughter phoned me and my first reaction was that it was a hoax because I have been reported dead so many times myself, but then it became reality.
“It was quite a while since I last spoke to him but he was a one-off, his approach to music made him special. My feeling is with his wife Margrit and his kids.”
Bruce died from liver disease at home in Suffolk surrounded by his family.
Baker said he had still not had a chance to speak to Clapton but was hoping to attend the funeral.
Scheduled to play at a jazz festival in Cork, Ireland, he said that he had “some ideas” about dedicating his performance to Bruce.
It was Baker who initially asked Bruce to form a trio with Clapton, who in turn insisted that Bruce would be the singer.
The band was together for two years between 1966 and 1968, during which they recorded four albums.
In 2005, Bruce reunited with Clapton and Baker for Cream’s first concert tour in 37 years, playing at London’s Royal Albert Hall and Madison Square Garden in New York City.
“Cream was one-off magic, there has never been anything like it before or since and there never will be,” Baker said. “It was magic between the three of us, the first time we played together was just fantastic, we all played off each other.
“There will never be anything on a par with Cream, not even close. I get angry when I see Cream described as a rock group, because it wasn’t.”
“It was three guys improvising, more like jazz. I’d say 80 or 85 per cent of it was improvisation.”