Composer, singer, and multi-instrumentalist, Jack Bruce is hailed as one of the most powerful vocalists and greatest bassists of his time. Born to musical parents in Glasgow, Scotland in 1943, Jack finished his formal education at Bellahouston Academy and the Royal Scottish Academy of Music, to which he won a scholarship for cello and composition.
Jack joined his first important band in 1962 in London-Alexis Korner’s Blues Band-which included drummer Charlie Watts, later of the Rolling Stones. Jack left Alexis in 1963 to form the seminal Graham Bond Organisation with guitarist John McLaughlin and drummer Ginger Baker. He then joined John Mayall’s Blues Breakers, where he first met Eric Clapton, followed by Manfred Mann. Ginger Baker asked him to form a trio with Clapton-the legendary Cream-which went on to sell 35 million albums and was awarded the first ever platinum disc for Wheels of Fire. Jack wrote and sang most of the songs. Cream disbanded in 1968 at the height of their popularity-Jack felt that he had strayed too far from his ideals and wanted to re-discover his musical and social roots.
He began recording solo albums-commencing his vision of playing simultaneously in rock, jazz and classical formats-to realize his unique personal style, an amalgam of these plus the influence of world and ethnic music.
During the American tour of the first of Jack’s own bands (featuring guitarist Larry Coryell and Jimi Hendrix’s drummer Mitch Mitchell), Jack was introduced to Tony Williams. He soon joined Tony’s Lifetime, along with John McLaughlin and Larry Young. Frustrated by the breakup of Lifetime, Jack found solace in returning to his rock roots with the formation of West Bruce and Laing.
Since then, Jack has fronted many of his own bands (featuring, amongst others, Carla Bley, Mick Taylor, Simon Phillips, Billy Cobham, David Sancious and Gary Moore) and recorded numerous solo albums as well as collaborating on special projects with artists like Carla Bley (Escalator Over The Hill), Michael Mantler, Kip Hanrahan, and Ringo Starr. He has also worked with Lou Reed (Berlin) and Frank Zappa, with whom Jack co-wrote “Apostrophe”. In 1991 he performed a specially commissioned work with Michael Mantler and Mike Gibbs, accompanied by symphony orchestra.
Jack was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Cream in 1993. In 1995, he recorded Monkjack, a set of piano solos and duos with organist Bernie Worrell, and was invited to present this material at the Edinburgh Festival and the Queen Elizabeth Hall that year. In 2001 he released Shadows in the Air, which hit #5 on the UK Jazz & Blues charts. He continues to tour with his band The Cuicoland Express, and is currently recording his second album for Sanctuary Records.
John Cage: The Works for Piano 5 (mode 123)