Ginger Baker

Ginger Baker

Highest Rated: 98% Beware of Mr. Baker (2012)

Lowest Rated: 98% Beware of Mr. Baker (2012)

Birthday: Aug 19, 1939

Birthplace: Lewisham, London, England, UK

One of rock's first star drummers, Ginger Baker was renowned as a creative player and a famously prickly personality. He came to international fame as part of the late-'60s supergroup Cream, but played through his life in an impressive series of jazz, rock and African settings. Born Peter Baker in South London, he studied with English jazz drummer Phil Seaman and wound up in organist Graham Bond's influential jazz/blues band, the Graham Bond Organisation. By 1966 Baker was well-known enough to spearhead a new group Cream, taking the Organisation's singer/bassist Jack Bruce and ex-Yardbirds guitarist Eric Clapton. Baker's jazz-informed drumming (he almost never played a straight backbeat) was a key part of the band's famous live improvisations, but they also had a knack for hit singles that drew from blues and psychedelia ("Sunshine of Your Love" for the former; "White Room" the latter). Yet relations in the group were tense and it broke up after just two years. Baker was part of the next supergroup, Blind Faith with Clapton, Steve Winwood and Family bassist Ric Grech. Also short-lived, the band was considered a disappointment at the time; but its one album is long enshrined as classic. Baker used the fame and money from these bands to branch out musically, first forming the eleven-piece Air Force with Winwood, Grech, Phil Seaman and a horn section. More notably he traveled to Nigeria and set up a recording studio in Lagos, befriending and collaborating with Afrobeat great Fela Kuti. The latter was featured on Baker's solo debut, Stratavarious (1972), one of the first rock/Afrobeat fusions. Baker also formed a rock band, Baker-Gurvitz Army with brothers Paul and Adrian Gurvitz; despite a lack of major success they managed three studio albums between 1974-76. Baker's heroin addiction made him less productive in the '80s and '90s, yet he turned up in some surprising settings, including short-time membership in the psychedelic band Hawkwind. He formed another supergroup, BBM, with Jack Bruce and guitarist Gary Moore; this lasted only from 1993-94. More productively he formed a studio alliance with New York producer Bill Laswell, who used Baker on numerous sessions (including Public Image Ltd's Album) and produced two solo albums for him. After numerous false starts Cream reunited in May 2005 for a string of London and New York shows. Though these were successful, the old Baker/Bruce tensions flared up and the band didn't continue. In 2012 the Jay Bulger film "Beware of Mr. Baker" shed light on the drummer's difficult personality (he is at one point seen attacking the filmmaker with his cane); ironically it gave Baker the most name recognition he'd had in years. Though ailing with COPD he formed the band Jazz Confusion and toured successfully with them in 2013-14, often announcing onstage that he planned to die during the show. His health took an upturn the following year and Baker announced a new grouping of Air Force. However his health again failed and the new band played only one show in London during January 2016; this was his last. He left the road and died at age 80 in October 2019.

Highest Rated Movies

Filmography

Movies

Credit
No Score Yet No Score Yet Suburban Steps to Rockland: The Story of The Ealing Club Himself (Character) - 2017
98% 87% Beware of Mr. Baker Unknown (Character) $114.3K 2012
No Score Yet No Score Yet The Cream Farewell Concert Himself (Character) - 1969
No Score Yet No Score Yet Gonks Go Beat Himself (Character) - 1965

TV

Credit
No Score Yet No Score Yet Front and Center Music Performer 2014

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