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Ginger Baker (1939 - 2019)

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Image result for pressed rat and warthog

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Pity that him and Bill Evans never got to make a record together. RIP.

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3 minutes ago, JSngry said:

Pity that him and Bill Evans never got to make a record together. RIP.

Was that a thought back when it was possible?

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Damn - was really hoping he would pull through. Will spin that Graham Bond Organisation box in tribute this afternoon - RIP.

At least he lived a good long and eventful life, unlike his mentor Phil Seaman.

1 hour ago, felser said:

Image result for pressed rat and warthog

I’ve never seen that brew - and always wondered where the song title came from. Alton, Hants - now I know !

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RIP, Mr. Baker.

I'm not that deeply into rock drumming (much more into jazz drumming), but he was a major figure.  And it's cool that he had a  major interest in jazz.  I quite enjoy his two records with jazz heavyweights Bill Frisell and Charlie Haden.

 

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36 minutes ago, Milestones said:

RIP, Mr. Baker.

I'm not that deeply into rock drumming (much more into jazz drumming), but he was a major figure.  And it's cool that he had a  major interest in jazz.  I quite enjoy his two records with jazz heavyweights Bill Frisell and Charlie Haden.

 

He claimed he was a jazz drummer and that in Cream they were playing jazz. 

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Posted (edited)

Not sure there's ever been a character like Baker.  A near genius musician, but let's face it, a card carrying asshole.  I'm going to do two things note his passing.  First, listen to a live version of "Toad" and, second, re-watch, "Beware of Mr. Baker."  That should about cover it.  

Edited by Dave James

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Posted (edited)

Apart from Cream, which was on another level (*), Ginger Baker's Air Force (Polydor, 1970) Going Back Home (Atlantic, 1994) with Charlie Haden and Bill Frisell and Coward of the County (Atlantic, 1999) with the DJQ2O with guest James Carter are, for me, three exceptional examples of Ginger's work in the jazz field. He will be greatly missed and was undoubtedly a true legend. RIP Ginger.

 

(*) Jack Bruce claimed that Cream were a jazz group with Eric playing the Ornette Coleman role, they just didn't tell Eric. 

Edited by RogerF
typo

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3 hours ago, Dave James said:

Not sure there's ever been a character like Baker.  A near genius musician, but let's face it, a card carrying asshole.  I'm going to do two things note his passing.  First, listen to a live version of "Toad" and, second, re-watch, "Beware of Mr. Baker."  That should about cover it.  

I wonder how many people we listen to or sports stars we watch are people we probably wouldn’t want to know or be friends with. Plenty, I’m sure. 

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RIP.  A true giant.  I was into "rock" far more than I was into "rock & roll," and Cream exemplified rock.  Especially their live tracks: Crossroads, Spoonful, NSU...just wonderful stuff. The albums with Frisell and Haden are great too.  

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Cream defined a significant portion of my early musical experience, and the completist in me was always very invested in the idea of collecting as much related material as possible. I'm glad that the quieter--but very justly celebrated--victories with The Graham Bond Organization have not been lost to time, but there are some brilliant records with Ginger Baker's Airforce (in the company of UK jazz stalwarts Harold McNair and Phil Seamen, alongside the usual suspects), Fela Kuti (including the moody psych-afrobeat melange Stratavarious), and Bill Laswell's circle (PIL's Album, No Material with what is essentially a version of Last Exit) that I still swear by. 

I'm not a little sad that Cream declined in critical and communal estimation over the course of the past couple of decades. They were the first group to solve a very particular puzzle, and though my very partial opinion maintains that much of the music that they made together holds up, I'll be the first to admit that there were others who exercised similar ambitions with more verve and vision (Hendrix), conceptual clarity (Vanilla Fudge), experimental fervor (MC5), and enduring quality of songcraft (The Who).

I think the one thing that they did do best was make an argument for how one can transmogrify the core elements of electric blues into something much less earthbound and much more surreal, and if Cream opened the door to things like Electric Mud or, extrapolating a lot, Rotary Connection or Tony Williams Lifetime, then the whole experiment was worth it. I listen now to something like the studio recording of "Politician"--which is this warped mix of overdubbed blues guitar, stentorian vocalisms, and Ginger's bizarre--but brilliant--insistence on playing swing time--and I hear something that transcends the end-of-the-line bankruptcy of merely playing electric blues louder.

I'll argue at the end of the day that Cream was a more complete artistic project than a lot of the more fully realized (and probably more influential) music that came after it, if only because Cream still has a wash of uncertainty, ingenuity, and freshness dosed into it this many years removed. I can listen to something like "Pressed Rat and Warthog" or--deeper cut--"What A Bringdown" to hear three enterprising musicians near the beginning of their powers just trying to figure out how to make something that sounds new:

It's messy and it's weird, yeah. But if you hear what happened with these guys in the years subsequent, it takes on a different character. I don't think Clapton was ever the same, and whether it was the pressure of the spotlight or the imperative of innovation that drew him inward, I don't think it did the artistic side of his ethos any big favors. I maintain that Jack Bruce was a full-blooded *genius* in a way that surpassed even his innovations on bass, and he was able to refine the miscellany of Cream into the laser-focused art rock (for lack of a better term) of Songs for A Tailor, Harmony Row, and later stuff like Somethin Els--music that is in its very own way both lost to time and timeless in a way Cream is not.

Ginger never consolidated his artistic ambitions into a single project that defined his strengths, and I'll argue that when he and Bruce returned to the Cream well in subsequent years (with Bruce Baker Moore or on Jack's own solo records), it felt surprisingly rearguard. But inside of Ginger's plodding intensity was something of intrinsic value: a deep musicality and directness of attack, and a deep-set attention to sound. The dude was an improviser at heart. 

Skip to around 25 minutes here for a trio with Dick Heckstall-Smith. It's fucking free jazz. Somewhere inside of Ginger's Elvin Jones-cum-afrorock-isms is something both completely inimitable and spontaneous at heart, and if that isn't the mark of a jazz musician who has achieved self-actualization, then I don't know what is. Hearing Ginger's outsized drum sound + Jack's amped up fretless bass playing in this context really drives home the point that at some point before the end these guys were very content to be something smaller than their very big innovations, and in this most unusual and unlikely way, they shined. 

RIP to Ginger Baker. These guys were maniacs, but they did it down. 

 

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R.I.P. 

He was one of a kind, and dug deeper into African music than any other rock drummer. He was a jazz drummer just as well, but .......

If I were home, I'd spin some Cream, his two Atlantic albums, and the live ones with Fela Kuti, and African Force. 

41g934R7WTL.jpg

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8 hours ago, Rooster_Ties said:

Was that a thought back when it was possible?

8 hours ago, Rooster_Ties said:

Was that a thought back when it was possible?

I think that was a joke, but its teller better be on the lookout for an orange-colored ghost seeking revenge...:alien:

Most Americans have a problem with Baker actually having a career as a jazz drummer before he decided to "go commercial" with Graham Bond in 1962, but I asked Leon Redbone's Italian-born drummer about it (Gianpaulo Biaggi), and he said when he lived in Italy, Baker was known as one of the best jazz drummers in Europe.

He even was supposed to play with Johhny Dankworth's band in 1961, but he, "did the audition for the Dankworth Band, and all the band were raving about it, but somebody told John I was using smack, and Ronnie Stephenson got the gig and became a bigger junkie than me, which was really quite funny" Interview with Ginger Baker, August, 2009.

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9 hours ago, sidewinder said:

Damn - was really hoping he would pull through. Will spin that Graham Bond Organisation box in tribute this afternoon - RIP.

At least he lived a good long and eventful life, unlike his mentor Phil Seaman.

I’ve never seen that brew - and always wondered where the song title came from. Alton, Hants - now I know !

May well have been the other way around, the brew name coming from the song.  I don't really know.

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Being only a jazz fan it´s very hard for me to find associations to not jazz related musicians, but I have read once, that the Drummer from the Stones also knows a lot About jazz and is a jazz fan.....

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..and he (Charlie Watts) and Ginger knew each other, going way back to Graham Bond days if not before.

9 hours ago, ep1str0phy said:

Cream defined a significant portion of my early musical experience, and the completist in me was always very invested in the idea of collecting as much related material as possible. I'm glad that the quieter--but very justly celebrated--victories with The Graham Bond Organization have not been lost to time, but there are some brilliant records with Ginger Baker's Airforce (in the company of UK jazz stalwarts Harold McNair and Phil Seamen, alongside the usual suspects), Fela Kuti (including the moody psych-afrobeat melange Stratavarious), and Bill Laswell's circle (PIL's Album, No Material with what is essentially a version of Last Exit) that I still swear by. 

I'm not a little sad that Cream declined in critical and communal estimation over the course of the past couple of decades. They were the first group to solve a very particular puzzle, and though my very partial opinion maintains that much of the music that they made together holds up, I'll be the first to admit that there were others who exercised similar ambitions with more verve and vision (Hendrix), conceptual clarity (Vanilla Fudge), experimental fervor (MC5), and enduring quality of songcraft (The Who).

I think the one thing that they did do best was make an argument for how one can transmogrify the core elements of electric blues into something much less earthbound and much more surreal, and if Cream opened the door to things like Electric Mud or, extrapolating a lot, Rotary Connection or Tony Williams Lifetime, then the whole experiment was worth it. I listen now to something like the studio recording of "Politician"--which is this warped mix of overdubbed blues guitar, stentorian vocalisms, and Ginger's bizarre--but brilliant--insistence on playing swing time--and I hear something that transcends the end-of-the-line bankruptcy of merely playing electric blues louder.

I'll argue at the end of the day that Cream was a more complete artistic project than a lot of the more fully realized (and probably more influential) music that came after it, if only because Cream still has a wash of uncertainty, ingenuity, and freshness dosed into it this many years removed. I can listen to something like "Pressed Rat and Warthog" or--deeper cut--"What A Bringdown" to hear three enterprising musicians near the beginning of their powers just trying to figure out how to make something that sounds new:

It's messy and it's weird, yeah. But if you hear what happened with these guys in the years subsequent, it takes on a different character. I don't think Clapton was ever the same, and whether it was the pressure of the spotlight or the imperative of innovation that drew him inward, I don't think it did the artistic side of his ethos any big favors. I maintain that Jack Bruce was a full-blooded *genius* in a way that surpassed even his innovations on bass, and he was able to refine the miscellany of Cream into the laser-focused art rock (for lack of a better term) of Songs for A Tailor, Harmony Row, and later stuff like Somethin Els--music that is in its very own way both lost to time and timeless in a way Cream is not.

Ginger never consolidated his artistic ambitions into a single project that defined his strengths, and I'll argue that when he and Bruce returned to the Cream well in subsequent years (with Bruce Baker Moore or on Jack's own solo records), it felt surprisingly rearguard. But inside of Ginger's plodding intensity was something of intrinsic value: a deep musicality and directness of attack, and a deep-set attention to sound. The dude was an improviser at heart. 

Skip to around 25 minutes here for a trio with Dick Heckstall-Smith. It's fucking free jazz. Somewhere inside of Ginger's Elvin Jones-cum-afrorock-isms is something both completely inimitable and spontaneous at heart, and if that isn't the mark of a jazz musician who has achieved self-actualization, then I don't know what is. Hearing Ginger's outsized drum sound + Jack's amped up fretless bass playing in this context really drives home the point that at some point before the end these guys were very content to be something smaller than their very big innovations, and in this most unusual and unlikely way, they shined. 

RIP to Ginger Baker. These guys were maniacs, but they did it down. 

 

Yeah, that trio shit here is quite something, thanx!

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Posted (edited)

20 hours ago, felser said:

May well have been the other way around, the brew name coming from the song.  I don't really know.

I see in the Urban Dictionary it is something to do with mooning out of bus windows. Well, you learn something every day..:D

Music by the late Mike Taylor, lyrics by Ginger Baker.

Edited by sidewinder

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1 hour ago, sidewinder said:

I see in the Urban Dictionary it is something to do with mooning out of bus windows. Well, you learn something every day..:D

Music by the late Mike Taylor, lyrics by Ginger Baker.

That is not exactly clear from the lyrics (nor is anything else).  Ah, the late 60's....

Pressed Rat and Warthog
Pressed Rat and Warthog have closed down their shop.
They didn't want to, 'twas all they had got.
Selling atonal apples, amplified heat,
And Pressed Rat's collection of dog legs and feet.
Sadly they left, telling no one goodbye.
Pressed Rat wre red jodhpurs, Warthog a striped tie.
Between them they carried a three-legged sack,
Went straight round the corner and never came back.
The bad captain madman had ordered their fate.
He laughed and stomped off with a nautical gate.
The gate turned into a deroga tree,
And his peg-leg got woodworm and broke into three.
Pressed Rat and Warthog have closed down their shop.
They didn't want to, 'twas all they had got.
Selling atonal apples, amplified heat,
And Pressed Rats collection of dog legs and feet.

 

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