Jack Bruce

Though Jack Bruce’s iconic status as a virtuoso instrumentalist emerged from his improvisatory genius with Cream as evidenced on their legendary extended live jams – a revolutionary horizon for rock bands of the era – to my ears Jack’s finest work can be found in his wide array of studio recordings.

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With Cream, Bruce possessed the perfect platform to flex his remarkable songwriting chops with lyricist Peter Brown: “White Room,” “Politician,” “SWLABR,” and “Sunshine of Your Love” are all exemplary rock standards. Bruce’s signature tone truly emerged from his soul – regardless of the bass he utilized. From his Fender VI to his notorious Gibson EB to Warwick – you always recognized Jack in one note!

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Bruce’s classical education coupled with his passion for jazz enabled him to expand the patois of the bass in a rock context like no other before him. Every album Jack contributed to is worthy of exploration. I loved the manner in which Jack bended and sustained notes in the most appropriate moments within a composition– and the adept ways he utilized space – even though most folks associated Jack as a player renowned for rendering a flurry of notes.

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Bruce’s collaborations with artists from every conceivable genre – including Tony Williams, John McLaughlin, Frank Zappa, Leslie West, Carla Bley, Mick Taylor, Billy Cobham, Robin Trower, Lou Reed, and Cindy Blackman Santana, to name a very few, never failed to break new ground.

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I can’t think of a bass player who traveled more musical roads with style, grace, and expertise than Jack Bruce.

 

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