Sunday, October 26, 2014


Bassist and composer Jack Bruce recently passed away at age 71,  apparently of liver failure (he had had a liver transplant of few years prior). While he started as a journeyman musician in groups like The Graham Bond Organisation,  Blues Incorporated, and John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, he is best known for his work with Eric Clapton and Ginger Baker as Cream. Here his electric bass playing took on a bluesy improvisational style that turned Cream's ravaging of blues standards into a kind of electric jazz.  His playing went from fearless trebly leads to dark distorted bottom end ambience,  all while retaining some semblance of melody and rhythm. After Cream disbanded, a series of fine solo releases (1969's SONGS FOR A TAILER saw him in particularly fine form) showed he hadn't lost his penchant for song forms amidst the improvisation.  He continued his low end journey in the rather lackluster West, Bruce,  and Laing,  while also touching down with jazz giants like  Larry Coryell,  Carla Bley,  Tony Williams,  Kip Hanrahan,  and John MacLaughlin.  He was certainly the very definition of the peripatetic musician.  He is now hopefully at peace.

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