Legendary bassist and vocalist Jack Bruce, best known for his work with Cream, passed away Oct. 25 at the age of 71.
With his musical roots tied to the burgeoning jazz scene of early 1960s London, word of Bruce’s talent as a bassist quickly spread as he joined Blues Incorporated under the tutelage of Alexis Korner and Cyril Davies.
He later fell in with the Graham Bond Quartet, led by ex-Blues Incorporated organist Graham Bond in a group that also included guitarist John McLaughin and drummer Ginger Baker. Bond’s quartet would later become the Graham Bond Organisation with McLaughlin leaving and in-demand sax player Dick Heckstall-Smith joining the fold.
He would do short stints with John Mayall’s Blues Breakers – where he met guitarist Eric Clapton – and Manfred Mann, but the summer of 1966, he reconnected with Baker and Clapton to form Cream which was recognized as the first power trio, combining blues and jazz influences with psychedelic rock.
Bruce, usually working with lyricist Pete Brown, was the primary song writer for the group and provided the bulk of the lead vocals.