Sunday, October 6, 2019

Cream drummer Ginger Baker dead at 80

Cream drummer Ginger Baker died in a UK hospital on October 6 at the age of 80.

“We are very sad to say that Ginger has passed away peacefully this morning,” confirmed the rocker’s family on social media. “Thank you to everyone for your kind words to us all over the past weeks.”

While the drum legend’s family first revealed his critical health status two weeks ago, no cause of death has been revealed at press time.

Baker has faced a number of issues in recent years, including degenerative osteoarthritis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Born Peter Baker in London in 1939, he began playing drums at the age of 15 and went on to become a fixture on the Soho jazz scene just a few years later. In 1962, Charlie Watts suggested Baker as his replacement in Alexis Korner’s Blues Incorporated when Watts left to join The Rolling Stones; Baker would last a year before forming the Graham Bond Organization with keyboardist Graham Bond and future Cream bandmate Jack Bruce.

Baker and Bruce would regroup to team up with Eric Clapton to form one of the first high-profile power trios in rock, Cream, in London in 1966; the lineup are widely regarded as the world's first rock supergroup.

Cream issued three albums – 1996’s “Fresh Cream”, 1967’s “Disraeli Gears”, 1968’s “Wheels Of Fire” – before playing a farewell tour that ended with two shows at London’s Royal Albert Hall in November of 1968, and releasing a live and studio set, “Goodbye”, the following year.

When Clapton started working with Steve Winwood from Traffic in 1969, Baker joined in alongside bassist Ric Grech as the new supergroup recorded and released their self-titled debut, “Blind Faith”, before disbanding after a short tour.

The drummer would form and tour as a jazz-fusion outfit under the name Ginger Baker’s Air Force before moving to Nigeria to set up a recording studio that would produce records from local and international musicians, including Paul McCartney’s 1973 set, “Band On The Run.”

Baker would go on to work with other groups, including Baker Gurvitz Army, Hawkwind, Public Image Ltd., Masters Of Reality, The Ginger Baker Trio, and BBM with Jack Bruce and guitarist Gary Moore.

Cream reunited to perform at their induction into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 1993, and the trio would regroup again for a series of concerts in 2005 that resulted in a live recording from London’s Royal Albert Hall.

The drummer, who has also released numerous solo albums, was the subject of the 2012 documentary “Beware Of Mr. Baker.”

Cream bassist Jack Bruce died of liver disease in 2014 at the age of 71.

See also:

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