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.
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!
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?
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.
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.
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>
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.”
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.
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...