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I started a quest to find terrific blues music and incredible musicianship when I was just a little kid. I also have a tremendous appreciation of fine musical instruments and equipment. One of my greatest joys all of my life was sharing my finds with my friends. I'm now publishing my journey. I hope that you come along!

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Monday, May 14, 2012

Were Going Wrong - Jack Bruce

John Symon Asher "Jack" Bruce (born 14 May 1943) is a Scottish musician and songwriter, respected as a founding member of the British psychedelic rock power trio, Cream, for a solo career that spans several decades, and for his participation in several well-known musical ensembles. Best recognized as a memorable vocalist and bass guitarist, Bruce has been referred to as a "World-class pioneer in his main instrument; a composer of some of the most endurable and recognizable rock songs of our time; an accomplished classical, jazz and Latin musician and one of popular music's most distinctive and evocative voices." He is also trained as a classical cellist. The Sunday Times stated "... many consider him to be one of the greatest bass players of all time."
After leaving school, he toured Italy, playing double bass with the Murray Campbell Big Band. In 1962, Jack Bruce became a member of the London-based band Blues Incorporated, led by Alexis Korner, in which he played the double bass. The band also included organist Graham Bond, saxophonist Dick Heckstall-Smith and drummer Ginger Baker. In 1963, the group broke up and Bruce went on to form the Graham Bond Quartet with Bond, Baker, and guitarist John McLaughlin. They played an eclectic range of music genres, including, bebop, blues and rhythm and blues. As a result of session work at this time, Bruce switched from double bass to electric bass. The move to electric bass happened as McLaughlin was dropped from the band; he was replaced by Heckstall-Smith on sax and the band pursued a more concise R&B sound and changed its name to the Graham Bond Organization. They released two studio albums and several singles, but were not commercially successful. They did, however, influence a number of other musicians, such as Keith Emerson, Jon Lord and Bill Bruford. In 1960, Jack Bruce married his first wife at age seventeen. He failed to mention her name in interviews citing the short-lived nature of the union. One son was born but he was estranged from his father. In 1964, Jack Bruce married Janet Godfrey, his second wife. They had two children together and divorced in 1973.

During the time Bruce and Baker played with the Graham Bond Organization, they were known for their hostility towards each other. There were numerous stories of the two sabotaging each other's equipment and fighting on stage. Hostility grew so much between the two that Bruce was forced to leave the group in August 1965.

After he left, Bruce recorded a solo single, "I'm Gettin Tired", for Polydor Records. He joined John Mayall and his John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers group, which featured guitarist Eric Clapton. Although his stay was brief; the Universal Deluxe double album Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton contains all the known tracks featuring Bruce.

After the Bluesbreakers, Bruce tasted his first commercial success as a member of Manfred Mann in 1966, including "Pretty Flamingo" which reached number one in the UK singles chart (the only number one record of his career) as well as the freewheeling and ground-breaking jazz-rock of Instrumental Asylum. When interviewed on the episode of the VH1 show, Classic Albums, which featured Disraeli Gears, Mayall stated that Bruce had been lured away by the lucrative commercial success of Manfred Mann while Mann himself recalled that Bruce attended recording sessions without having rehearsed but played songs straight through without error, opining that perhaps the chord changes seemed obvious to Bruce. The complete Manfred Mann recordings with Jack Bruce are available on the 4-CD EMI box set Down the Road Apiece.

Whilst with Manfred Mann, Bruce again collaborated with Eric Clapton as a member of Powerhouse, which also featured Spencer Davis Groups's vocalist credited as Steve Anglo. The 3 tracks were featured on the Elektra sampler album What's Shakin'. Two of the songs, "Crossroads" and "Steppin' Out", were to become staples in the live set of his next band.
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