Sunday, November 9, 2014

All About That (Jack) Bruce: White Room

I don’t know how I missed it, but somehow I didn’t see the report that Jack Bruce died from liver failure on October 25. He was 71. While today’s audiences may not recognize the importance of Jack Bruce’s contributions, he was a musician extraordinaire. Although he studied classical ‘cello and additionally played guitar, harmonica, and piano; he was a bassist through and through – playing fretted electric bass, a Fender Bass VI, fretless bass, and double bass during a very productive career since the 1960s.

This month, our second week feature is dedicated to Jack Bruce and its title is a play-on Meghan Trainor’s number one record from earlier this year, “All about that Bass.” Since with Bruce, it typically was all about that bass, we will be featuring a solo recording as well as cuts from his tenure with The Graham Bond Organization; John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers; Eric Clapton and the Powerhouse; Cream; West, Bruce, & Laing; and BLT.

Since I’ve already featured his one recording with Manfred Mann, “Pretty Flamingo,” it will be missing from this week’s lineup. For today, I am featuring one of the better known tracks featuring Bruce’s bass and vocals: Cream’s “White Room.” Released as a single in September 1968, the song also features Ginger Baker on drums and timpani, Eric Clapton on rhythm and wah-wah guitar, and producer Felix Pappalardi on violas.

“White Room” was co-written by Bruce and his frequent collaborator, poet Pete Brown. The single peaked at #6 on Billboard’s Hot 100. While many of us heard the single edit at 3:05, album rock played the longer cut that was nearly five minutes in length from the double LP “Wheels of Fire.”

We’ll miss you Jack Bruce, but thank you for your contributions to rock and jazz. Rock on.

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