AKA John Symon Asher Bruce
Birthplace: Lanarkshire, Scotland
Race or Ethnicity: White
Executive summary: Bassist/Vocalist for Cream
Initially a piano student trained in the classical tradition, Jack Bruce took up the bass and the blues when he moved to London at the age of 19. In 1962 he joined Alexis Korner's Blues Incorporated, an outfit that proved to be the hatching grounds for many future notable musicians. Also involved were Ginger Baker and Graham Bond, and in 1963 the three defected from Blues Incorporated to create The Graham Bond Organisation, another important axis in the British blues scene. A strong personal animosity developed between Bruce and Baker, and in 1965 Baker gave Bruce the boot, going so far as to threaten him with a knife when Bruce resisted the termination. The bassist then moved on to bring his blues pedigree up yet another notch by joining John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, perhaps the most influential band on the blues/rock scene. It was during this time that Bruce gained the respect of guitarist Eric Clapton, insuring his involvement in Clapton's next project. A brief tenure with Manfred Mann's Earth Band followed after his departure from the Bluesbreakers.
It is his next band for which Jack Bruce is most well-known. Cream was founded when Ginger Baker approached Clapton for some kind of collaboration; Baker's enthusiasm must have been small indeed when the guitarist insisted on the inclusion of his nemesis Bruce to round out the project, but the fiesty drummer -- unable to deny Bruce's prodigious abilities -- took his lumps and went along with it. Cream lasted less than three years, but attained legendary status within that time before ultimately collapsing beneath its own overinflated reputation.
After Cream, Bruce began a solo career with the release of Songs for a Tailor in 1969. He has remained an active performer ever since, working solo and in various band projects, as well as making memorable contributions to the records of other musicians -- such as Carla Bley (Escalator Over the Hill, 1971), Frank Zappa (Apostrophe, 1974), and Lou Reed (Berlin, 1973). More recent collaborations have been with former Funkadelic keyboardist Bernie Worrell (particularly on the 1995 release Monkjack) and several tours with Ringo Starr and His All-Starr Band in the late 1990s.
University: Royal Scottish Academy of Music
Alexis Korner's Blues Incorporated Bassist (1962-63)
The Graham Bond Organisation Bassist (1963-65)
John Mayall's Bluesbreakers Bassist (1965-66)
Manfred Mann's Earth Band Bassist (1966)
Cream Bassist/Vocalist (1966-68)
FILMOGRAPHY AS ACTOR
Beware of Mr. Baker (10-Mar-2012)
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (24-Jul-1978)
Gonks Go Beat (1965) · Himself
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