Jack Bruce 1943 - 2014
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