Peter Edward “Ginger” Baker (19 August 1939 – 6 October 2019) was an English drummer, composer, songwriter and a co-founder and occasional vocalist of the rock band Cream. His work in the 1960s and 1970s earned him the reputation of “rock’s first superstar drummer”, for a style that melded jazz and African rhythms and pioneered both jazz fusion and world music.
Baker gained early fame as a member of Blues Incorporated and the Graham Bond Organisation, both times alongside bassist Jack Bruce, with whom Baker would often clash.
In 1966, Baker and Bruce joined guitarist Eric Clapton to form Cream, which achieved worldwide success but lasted only until 1968, in part due to Baker’s and Bruce’s volatile relationship. After briefly working with Clapton in Blind Faith and leading Ginger Baker’s Air Force, Baker spent several years in the 1970s living and recording in Africa, often with Fela Kuti, in pursuit of his long-time interest in African music. Among Baker’s other collaborations are his work with Gary Moore, Masters of Reality, Public Image Ltd, Hawkwind, Atomic Rooster, Bill Laswell, jazz bassist Charlie Haden, jazz guitarist Bill Frisell and Ginger Baker’s Energy.
Baker’s drumming is regarded for its style, showmanship, and use of two bass drums instead of the conventional one. In his early days, he performed lengthy drum solos, most notably in the Cream song “Toad”, one of the earliest recorded examples in rock music. Baker was an inductee of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Cream in 1993, of the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame in 2008, and of the Classic Drummer Hall of Fame in 2016. Baker was noted for his eccentric, often self-destructive lifestyle, and he struggled with heroin addiction for many years. He was married four times and fathered three children. (/wikipedia)
The Ginger Baker Trio featuring Bill Frisell & Charlie Hayden, live on 9/24/1995 at Jazzfestival Frankfurt. This concert was broadcast on FM radio in Germany, probably NDR. This trio released the albums Going Back Home in 1994 and Falling Off The Roof in 1996.
Strangely, even the biggest Baker obituaries are often (almost) devoid of his ambitions in the jazz genre. In 1995, for example, Ginger Baker played at the German Jazz Festival in Frankfurt together with guitarist Bill Frisell and bassist Charlie Haden. It is no coincidence that these are two musicians who belong(ed) to the first world league of jazz. And the meeting of the three was one of those rare constellations for which the Frankfurt Festival has always had a good hand.
Bill Frisell spoke about Ginger Baker in a Rolling Stone interview after his death, emphasising Baker’s sensitivity (behind his hard shell) and his inimitable drumming style. – The three-piece constellation presented here with Baker, Frisell and Haden was considered sensational at the time. (Claus Gnichwitz)
Recorded live at the 26. German Jazzfestival Frankfurt/Germany, broadcasting hall des Hessischer Rundfunk, 29.09.1995
(excellent broadcast recording)
Ginger Baker (drums)
Charlie Haden (bass)
Bill Frisell (guitar)
01. Intro (in German) 0.53
02. Rambler (Frisell) 6.07
03. Ginger Blues (Haden) 7.34
04. I Lu Kron (Baker) 4.42
05. Ramblin’ (Coleman) 12.50
06. Spiritual (Haden) 5.40
07. Ain Temouchant (Baker) 5.27
08. When We Go (Bill Frisell) 4.41
09. Straight No Chaser (Monk) 6.53
10. In The Moment (Haden) 13.34
The official website: