Jack Bruce 1943 - 2014

Guitar Techniques - - Q&a -

You’d think that be­ing the ground­break­ing bassist, main vo­cal­ist and song­writer in one of the most im­por­tant and in­flu­en­tial groups of all time would be more than enough for one man. But Jack Bruce was way more than the guy who made up the tri­umvi­rate, Cream, with Eric Clap­ton and Ginger Baker. He was a se­ri­ous com­poser, played cello, dou­ble bass, pi­ano, har­mon­ica and gui­tar to a su­perb stan­dard and for many years had es­chewed fret­ted elec­tric basses for the fret­less, which more closely re­sem­bled his for­ma­tive in­stru­ments.

Cream’s me­te­oric rise is the stuff of legend. Bruce’s pow­er­ful lead vo­cals, stri­dent bass and au­then­tic blues harp gave the trio its back­bone, around which Clap­ton and Bruce put five-star meat on the bones. While never des­tined to last, given each mem­ber’s mer­cu­rial na­ture, dur­ing Cream’s two-year blast they man­aged to sell 15,000,000 records – in­clud­ing the first ever plat­inum disc for Wheels Of Fire – and left a legacy of clas­sic blues-rock tracks in­clud­ing Sun­shine Of Your Love, White Room, Cross­roads and more.

Cream fa­mously re­united at their 1993 in­duc­tion into the Rock And Roll Hall Of fame, and again at a se­ries of con­certs in London and New York in 2005. Jack was still weak after a liver trans­plant two years ear­lier but got through the shows in great form. At the news of Bruce’s death his old band­mate Eric Clap­ton said, “He was a great mu­si­cian and com­poser, and a tremen­dous in­spi­ra­tion to me.” His long­stand­ing spar­ring part­ner Ginger Baker con­curred, say­ing, “I’m very sad to learn of the loss of a fine man, Jack Bruce; my thoughts and wishes are with his fam­ily at this dif­fi­cult time.”

Bruce re­leased many crit­i­cally ac­claimed solo al­bums, and col­lab­o­rated with other rock, blues and jazz greats over the years, in­clud­ing Gary Moore, Leslie West, John McLaugh­lin, Robin Trower, Billy Cob­ham, Al­lan Holdsworth, Jon An­der­son, Mick Tay­lor, Frank Zappa, Lou Reed and a host of oth­ers. He re­leased his fi­nal al­bum, Sil­ver Rails, to crit­i­cal ac­claim, just months be­fore los­ing his bat­tle with liver dis­ease on Oc­to­ber 25, 2014. He will be missed!

Jack Bruce: much missed rock bassist and song­writer

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