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Ginger Baker’s Jazz Confusion

Legendary Rock Drummer

Peter Edward “Ginger” Baker, best known for playing with Cream and Blind Faith, is also known for his numerous associations with World music, mainly the use of African influences. He has also collaborated with Gary Moore, Hawkwind and Public Image Ltd. Baker’s drumming is notable for its flamboyance, showmanship and his use of two bass drums instead of the conventional single bass kick drum (following a similar set-up used by Louie Bellson during his days with Duke Ellington).

Although a firmly established rock drummer and praised as rock’s first superstar drummer, he prefers being called a jazz drummer. Baker’s influence has extended to drummers of both genres, including Billy Cobham, Peter Criss, Bill Ward, Ian Paice, Nick Mason, and John Bonham. While at times performing in a similar way to Keith Moon (The Who), Baker also employs a more restrained style influenced by the British jazz groups he heard during the late 1950s and early 1960s. In his early days as a drummer, he performed lengthy drum solos, the best known being the five-minute drum solo “Toad” from Cream’s debut album Fresh Cream (1966). He is also noted for using a variety of other percussion instruments and for his application of African rhythms.

What Other People Have Been Saying...

“the most influential percussionist of the 1960s… virtually every drummer of every heavy metal band that has followed since that time has sought to emulate some aspect of Baker’s playing.” -All Music

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