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Ian Williams 11-18-2008 04:54 AM

Ginger Baker
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Hello, All.

Ginger is a passionate drummer that fusions jazz and rock music for years, making it interesting to listen and play...A la Cream.


rockinrider 11-18-2008 05:54 PM

Re: Ginger Baker
Yes, Ian, Ginger and Cream and Blind Faith were a huge influence on me in the '60s. I grew up listening to my father's jazz albums. I felt at the time that Ginger was bridging a jazz/rock divide...Father to Fusion, maybe?

I was disappointed in Ginger Baker's AirForce.

But I thought he was great with Ginger Baker Trio with Bill Frisell and Charlie Haden. By far my favorite Ginger playing. He and Bill Frisell played very well together. There is some very interesting stuff on Falling Off The Roof..."Skeleton" comes to mind. The "Straight No Chaser" cover on Going Back Home is quite an enjoyable listen, recognizable but uniquely done.

Ginger is one of those drummers that I find to be immediately identifiable once heard. He has a unique style and sound.


Ian Williams 11-19-2008 12:15 AM

Re: Ginger Baker

Thanks for your comments and experience exchange. I will get that Ginger Baker Trio to listen as well, you are right Ginger is an unique and original drummer.

Best Regards,

crdirtRider856 11-26-2008 11:01 AM

Re: Ginger Baker
Hey R R, I see that you mentioned Airforce... I was a little dissapointed with the overall double album, but the solo is one of my favorites! Yeah he was whacked out from all the H, but the first couple of minutes of that song kill me everytime! I gotta get that vinyl back from my dad, btw.
Thanks for reminding me, man. Ginger was one my first influences at the tender age of 5, along with Moon, Bonham, Mitchell, and many more greats, thanks to my dad. Love em all!

motojt 10-20-2009 06:33 AM

Re: Ginger Baker
Wow, no love for Ginger? I see 37 pages of Bonzo, but not even a full page of Mr. Baker. That's a shame. Especially since he and Bonzo are two of my top five favorite drummers. Come on, guys... the pioneer of the double bass, master of the toms, and tasteful triplets?

wy yung 10-20-2009 06:38 AM

Re: Ginger Baker
This cannot be the first Ginger Baker thread??? Can it be????

Great drummer. Funny character. Not really an influence on me, except for the fact I've played his tunes on cover gigs.

theindian 10-20-2009 07:19 AM

Re: Ginger Baker
Yeah definitley a great player. Its kinds hard to clearly hear what he is playing on the early Cream recordings but he had a pretty creative approach to music. I wouldn't say he pioneered double bass drums but he helped popularize them in the 60's along with Moon.

harryconway 10-20-2009 10:00 AM

Re: Ginger Baker
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Originally Posted by motojt (Post 624283)
the pioneer of the double bass

You must be thinking of this guy?

motojt 10-20-2009 04:32 PM

Re: Ginger Baker
wow, i learned something new today. guess i should have appended a, "...in rock," to the end of my sentence. And while I'm at it, let me prepend it with, "one of..." :)

A-customs 02-20-2010 01:20 PM

Re: Ginger Baker
Loved ginger,............ cream, and how about the baker geirwitz army".Sitting on top of the world" on the Goodby Cream record is a KILLER!!!...........Thank you Ginger...............

Pollyanna 02-20-2010 02:30 PM

Re: Ginger Baker
Yes, Ginger seems to have been strangely ignored, apart from the "Ginger Baker talking garbage" thread. He's still playing good stuff today in his 70s.

I love the feel of his playing - very organic - especially with Blind Faith, where he showed his versatility - from the folky I Can't Find My Way Home to the rocky passaged in Sea of Joy to the jazzy 5/4 of Do What You Like.

In various bands I've covered Strange Brew, White Room and I'm still playing Sunshine of Your Love. All great songs and super enjoyable to play. He was amongst the first (or was he the first?) drummer to Africanise rock drumming. Definitely an influence on me.

tamadrm 12-14-2010 10:44 PM

Re: Ginger Baker
Yeah...Bellson and a few others were playing double bass in the late 40's,but Baker made it popular.He pushed those drums out front...not down in the mix.,and IMHO he has one of if not the most distinct sound and style in the bizz.When Bakers playing there is no doubt>
Steve B

alparrott 12-14-2010 11:27 PM

Re: Ginger Baker

Originally Posted by tamadrm (Post 776207)
He pushed those drums out front...not down in the mix

Not to hear him on most of Cream's earliest stuff... as summed up by Bruce Eder in the AllMusic Guide:

What happened initially was "Wrapping Paper," a pop-style single released in late 1966 that didn't impress too many people — although even there, one could hear a swing element to the group's sound, reminiscent of '40s jazz, that showed off one (albeit minor) component of what went into their sound. Baker was barely audible in the mix, though what one could hear of the drumming did have a signature of sorts, a loose, jazzy element that was unusual.

Also, keep in mind for Disraeli Gears, the band was playing live - and loud - in the studio. Tom Dowd, who produced the session, recalled:

“When they were playing, the room was up around 125, 130 dB. It was deafening. I would come out into the studio wearing headphones, and they thought I was listening through them, but I was just protecting my ears. But I couldn't say anything. As far as they were concerned, I was a foreigner.”

The studio was large, but Dowd saw the futility of attempting isolation for any instrument, let alone vocals, which were mostly sung live with the basic tracks. “My big job was protecting Ginger from the double stacks,” he says. “They were 45 feet away, but no way could you isolate them meaningfully. It was pure bedlam.”

Pachikara-Tharakan 12-14-2010 11:30 PM

Re: Ginger Baker
Ginger baker and " Tom Angles" doesnt go well together! :)

bonzolead 12-15-2010 04:31 PM

Re: Ginger Baker
Ginger & Mooney (Keith Moon) are similar IMO in the fact that they both had unique technique's & style's except Mooney would pack his bass drums with M-80's lol.

Seriously though Cream wouldn't. sound the same with any other drummer........period & that's what makes Ginger great his originality & approach too the drumset.


Liebe zeit 01-20-2011 04:23 PM

Re: Ginger Baker
I love Ginger's drumming on this version of Green Onions by the Graham Bond Organisation. It's triplet-tastic http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QBojlQC3jQY

rhythmkitchen 04-18-2011 07:05 AM

Re: Ginger Baker
i love ginger baker! i love all the old stuff with cream, graham bond, blind faith. he played in "trad"(dixieland) bands before that. it seems to me that my favorite "rock" drummers were all jazz drummers befor that. his work with bill laswell and fela kuti was great and i agree with pollyanna that he continues to make cool and interesting music to this day. we don't hear most of his stuff. his recordings with bassist jonas hellborg are smoking. he is much more versatile than most people are aware of, out of earshot out of mind i suppose. he influenced a ton of people.

KirbyM 06-10-2011 05:05 AM

Re: Ginger Baker
Sighhhh, he gave the silver sparkle kit to a roadie !!!!!

Ian Williams 06-18-2011 08:57 PM

Re: Ginger Baker
The lowly drummer always setting a good example...everywhere! That's our distinction.

Beekeeper 04-06-2012 05:35 PM

Re: Ginger Baker
Can't believe more people haven't posted about the legend that is Ginger Baker... A film about him has recently been premiered at SXSW... It's called "Beware Of Mr Baker" and the trailer looks great...


Kg_lee 04-25-2012 10:20 AM

Re: Ginger Baker
I can honestly say as a drummer of 33 years I had not a clue who Ginger Baker was til now. I'm amazed that this guy is a drumming icon! Maybe someone can enlighten me on his great drumming works?

What brought me to learn who he was a friend posted and comment on facebook about how great John Bonham was and some replied about Ginger Baker. I looked him up on youtube and I just don't hear it. Maybe I'm just into today's drummers and blown away by prodigy drummers like Royster who are just insane. I try to respect those who try and that it's not all about a killer solo but playing the song. I know Ginger Baker along with Charlie Watts made many more trips to the bank depositing money they made playing drums then I ever will!

jonescrusher 04-25-2012 12:39 PM

Re: Ginger Baker

Originally Posted by Beekeeper (Post 984552)
Can't believe more people haven't posted about the legend that is Ginger Baker... A film about him has recently been premiered at SXSW... It's called "Beware Of Mr Baker" and the trailer looks great...


Looking forward to this, nothing more intriguing than a musician who's a nasty bastard to boot.

harryconway 01-28-2013 08:10 AM

Re: Ginger Baker
1970 ..... Air Force ...... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vT0RTBm5QOE

azarkiowa 01-29-2013 06:11 PM

Re: Ginger Baker
This is the best I've heard Baker sound:


When he was "on", he was really on. When he wasn't, he was a plodding, boring mess. I don't think his drums were miced properly for alot of the records either. They sound the best on White Room, but on other stuff like NSU they sound like cardboard boxes. Nevertheless, I think his straight, driving feel was very influential to the heavy rock drumming that was developing.

KingBeastie 01-31-2013 03:04 PM

Re: Ginger Baker
I seen him on the last day of the Glasgow Jazz Fest back in July.
Amazing player. He's so old now he had to be helped off his kit and back into it for the encore.


Anon La Ply 02-01-2013 11:28 AM

Re: Ginger Baker

Originally Posted by Kg_lee (Post 992030)
What brought me to learn who he was a friend posted and comment on facebook about how great John Bonham was and some replied about Ginger Baker. I looked him up on youtube and I just don't hear it. Maybe I'm just into today's drummers and blown away by prodigy drummers like Royster who are just insane.

As with Bonzo people just enjoy his feel and groove. If you'd never heard of Joe Cocker and people talked him up you might not see the appeal if you were into hot singers like Freddie Mercury or Ronnie James Dio. A

toddy 02-03-2013 12:04 PM

Re: Ginger Baker
ginger baker is brilliant, and a great reason to stay away from heroin.

Vegas Island 03-31-2013 06:02 PM

Re: Ginger Baker
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Hey Chuck...STFU!!!!

richkenyon 06-24-2013 02:26 AM

Re: Ginger Baker
Cream never interested me but Baker's playing on Hawkwind's visionary concept album "Levitation" is just sublime. The sound, the playing - absolutely integral to that record. One of the all-time top 20 albums IMO.

Pachikara-Tharakan 06-24-2013 04:23 PM

Re: Ginger Baker
from a basement drummer's point of view, all drummers are good. Better drummers are the ones who bring the same feel that we hear on the record when they play live.

all good.. :)

The Modernist 06-25-2013 12:46 PM

Re: Ginger Baker
He's an egotistical bellend.

richkenyon 06-25-2013 04:56 PM

Re: Ginger Baker

Originally Posted by The Modernist (Post 1154875)
He's an egotistical bellend.

The thing that interests me is the work. I am not so interested in judging the artist from everything external to the work. If I did I would very likely have stopped watching Polanski, certainly quit listening to U2 (your assertion can be made to fit Bono in an instant) and very likely put off Buddy Rich.

tacobelle 06-30-2014 08:02 AM

Re: Ginger Baker
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real talk this dood is fading fast
he still drums like a motherfucker but they basically have to carry is ass off the stage
i'm so glad i got to see him live

GeoB 06-30-2014 01:55 PM

Re: Ginger Baker
Ginger Baker... ah, what can I say?

Ginger Baker Trio with Bill Frizzel and Charlie Haden
Ginger Baker, Coward of the County
Ginger Baker's latest... Why?

and of course all the Cream, Blind Faith, Air Force etc...

Opinionated arse or suffering from Asperger's syndrome?

He's not well, has terminal COPD, oxygen and morphine inhalers for the pain and spends a lot of time in his recliner, out of necessity.

Beware Mr. Baker and associated clips are up on YouTube.

So is an interesting interview conducted by Chad Smith (RHCP).

Jack Bruce aside, I think Baker probably has been ripped off a bit, by EMI, and Nigerian officialdom. And he feels bitter about it. But... is that the Asperger's talking, the rattled brain of a former junkie, the medication? You decide.

I honestly find him to be a fascinating musician. He's not my role model, but I do admire his quest and am saddened by his present health conditions.

All of his personal drum "hero's" have acknowledged his abilities, Art Blakey, Elvin Jones, Max Roach, all gave Ginger kudos and I think that's what matters to Baker, not yours or my opinion but the respect of his peers.

He'll be gone soon. I think he may be looking forward to that journey as well.

Hewitt2 11-11-2014 06:48 AM

Re: Ginger Baker
No updates to this thread in quite some time. Interesting.

Anyone purchase his latest album, 'Why?' It's tough to listen to it without being keenly aware of his physical ailments; the tempo seems to drag in many places and the chops-fest days of Toad are long gone. Having said that, though, Ginger's a tasteful drummer and there is a sense of playfulness and joy which belies his public persona. The songs themselves are quite listenable and for a 74 year old with COPD and severe arthritis I have had to say I was impressed.

Bonzodownunder 03-03-2015 01:22 AM

Re: Ginger Baker
Did he (Baker) use 14 15 or even 16" Zildjian hats?.

Seafroggys 03-03-2015 02:06 AM

Re: Ginger Baker
My guess would be 14's. Not sure if 15's and 16's were around in the late 60's, for Zildjians anyway.

Bonzodownunder 03-03-2015 02:30 AM

Re: Ginger Baker
I meant during his Cream days/years did he use 14 15 or 16" Zildjian hi-hats?.

Seafroggys 03-03-2015 04:02 AM

Re: Ginger Baker
My guess would be 14's. Not sure if 15's and 16's were around in the late 60's, for Zildjians anyway.

Drumsinhisheart 03-03-2015 04:19 AM

Re: Ginger Baker
My first major influence. I mean, Buddy was there, always inspirational but, as a kid big band was not my thing. Baker was so unique. His use of the toms. The thunder of the quads. Stacking cymbals. His jazz influence in such a heavy surrounding of Cream and then the soulfulness of Blind Faith. His use of various percussion on recordings. Different sized bass drums. Even the silver sparkle. His whole aura and presence was an experience. I believe Toad, from Wheels of Fire, holds its own against solos of today, simply because of the way Baker orchestrated it. It was brilliant.

Many players today do not realize the vast influence Baker had on drummers and drum set play in that era.

As he often said, he was not the fastest, nor the most technical, but no one played like him. His voice at the instrument is unmistakable.

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