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Jack Bruce Biography

Jack Bruce Tickets

Jack Bruce In-depth Biography

Although some may be tempted to call multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, and composer Jack Bruce} a rock & roll} musician, blues} and jazz} are what this innovative musician really loves. As a result, these two genres are at the base of most of the recorded output from a career that goes back to the beginning of London's blues} scene in 1962. In that year, he joined Alexis Korner's Blues Incorporated}.

Bruce}'s most famous songs are, in essence, blues} tunes: "Sunshine of Your Love,"} "Strange Brew,"} "Politician,"} and "White Room."} Bruce}'s best-known songs remain those he penned for Cream}, the legendary blues-rock} trio he formed with drummer Ginger Baker} and guitarist Eric Clapton} in July 1966. Baker} and Bruce} played together for five years before Clapton} came along, and although their trio only lasted until November 1968, the group is credited with changing the face of rock & roll} and bringing blues} to a worldwide audience. Through their creative arrangements of classic blues} tunes like Robert Johnson}'s "Crossroads,"} Skip James}' "I'm So Glad,"} Willie Dixon}'s "Spoonful,"} and Albert King}'s "Born Under a Bad Sign,"} the group helped popularize blues-rock} and led the way for similar groups that came about later on, like Led Zeppelin}.

Bruce} was born May 14, 1943, in Lanarkshire, near Glasgow, Scotland. His father was a big jazz} fan, and so he credits people like Louis Armstrong} and Fats Waller} among his earliest influences. He grew up listening to jazz} and took up bass and cello as a teen. After three months at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music, he left, disgusted with the politics of music school. After traveling around Europe for a while, he settled into the early blues} scene in 1962 in London, where he eventually met drummer Ginger Baker}. He played with British blues} pioneers Alexis Korner} and Graham Bond} before leaving in 1965 to join John Mayall's Bluesbreakers}, whose guitarist was Eric Clapton}. This gave him time to get his chops together without having to practice. With Manfred Mann}, who he also played with before forming Cream}, Bruce} learned about the business of making hit songs. The group's reputation for long, extended blues} jams began at the Fillmore} in San Francisco at a concert organized by impresario Bill Graham}. Bruce} later realized that Cream} gave him a chance to succeed as a musician, and admitted that if it weren't for that group, he might never have escaped London. After Cream} split up in November 1968, Bruce} formed Jack Bruce & Friends} with drummer Mitch Mitchell} and guitarist Larry Coryell}. Recording-wise, Bruce} took a different tack away from blues} and blues-rock}, leaning more in a folk-rock} direction with his solo albums Songs for a Tailor} (1969), Harmony Row} (1971), and Out of the Storm} (1974).

In 1970 and 1971, he worked with Tony Williams Lifetime} before putting together another power trio with guitarist Leslie West} and drummer Corky Laing} in 1972, simply called West, Bruce & Laing}. After working with Frank Zappa} on his album Apostrophe} in 1974, Bruce} was at it again in 1975 with the Jack Bruce Band}, where members included keyboardist Carla Bley} and guitarist Mick Taylor}. Again on the road in 1980 with Jack Bruce & Friends}, the latter version of the group included drummer Billy Cobham}, keyboardist David Sancious}, and guitarist Clem Clempson}, formerly of Humble Pie}. In the early '80s, he formed another trio, B.L.T.}, this time with guitarist Robin Trower}, before working with Kip Hanrahan} on his three solo albums.

Through decades, Bruce} has always been a supreme innovator, pushing himself into uncharted waters with his jazz} and folk-rock} compositions. Bruce}'s bluesiest albums would have to include all of his work with Cream}, the albums B.L.T.} and Truce} with Robin Trower}, some of his West, Bruce & Laing} recordings, and several of his albums from the 1980s and early '90s. These include Willpower} (PolyGram}, 1989); A Question of Time} (Epic Records}, 1989), which includes guest performances by Albert Collins}, Nicky Hopkins}, and Baker}; as well as his CMP Records} live career-retrospective album, recorded in Cologne, France, Cities of the Heart} (1993). Bruce} released Monkjack} in 1995, an album of his jazz} piano compositions which he performs with organist Bernie Worrell}, issued on the CMP Record} label. ~ Richard Skelly, All Music Guide

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