Monday, October 27, 2014
Losing Jack Bruce, And So Much More
I have been around drummers my whole life. Cousins, friends and friends of cousins and uncles all seemed to be drummers and almost all have had an influence on both my listening and playing. One particularly vivid memory is of an afternoon listening to the just released King Crimson record "Larks' Tongues In Aspic," when my bedroom door opened. My uncle and his friend were paying a visit and his friend heard the music and said "Getting a good workout in here?" He knew I played drums. So did he. He offered this.
"I know you love Bill Bruford. But you should also listen to Elvin Jones and Ginger Baker."
I had already been a fan of Cream, but not really of Ginger Baker. Elvin Jones, on the other hand, was completely out of my league. As I got older, I understood both Elvin and Ginger, and of course, now love them both. My favorite drummers have always been my favorite drummers: Ringo Starr and John Bonham. I couldn't imagine The Beatles or Led Zeppelin without either of them, and though Baker never did anything for me when I was a kid, I realized when I got older, Cream would not have been Cream without Baker.
I'm thinking about this now in the wake of Jack Bruce's death and after reading a comment left by reader Heather Taylor.
"I went through a discovery and short love for Cream in college when I discovered good music. While I quickly moved beyond this band, I've always understood the impact and importance of Jack Bruce's playing on the course of rock music history."
"...when I discovered good music." I love this.
It's too easy for many, including myself for many years, to think of Cream as Eric Clapton's baby. But this short-lived trio, though a sum of its parts, was in many ways Jack Bruce's baby. This is one huge loss.
Something else came to mind, as a person who will never pass up a solid "get off my lawn" opportunity.
Which musicians currently making "good music," will carry the torch as the best of the best when all of our heroes are gone?
Flea? Taylor Hawkins? Gary Clark Jr.?