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Ginger Baker

Ginger BakerAKA Peter Edward Baker

Born: 19-Aug-1939
Birthplace: Lewisham, London, England

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Drummer, Jazz Musician

Nationality: England
Executive summary: Drummer for Cream

One of the most influential drummers to emerge from the rock field, Ginger Baker got his start in traditional jazz bands before turning to blues when he took Charlie Watts' seat in Alexis Korner's Blues Incorporated in 1962. It was while in Corner's band that he first worked with Jack Bruce, and in 1963 both Baker and Bruce, along with bandmate Graham Bond, split off from Blues Incorporated to form The Graham Bond Organisation. Baker -- who, despite the name, was really in charge of the Organisation -- eventually fired Bruce, and the latter went on the join John Mayall's Bluesbreakers. The Bluesbreakers featured guitarist Eric Clapton, and thus the stage was set for the future coming together of the band Cream.

Cream first bubbled to the surface when Baker approached Clapton in 1966 with the idea of combining forces. Clapton insisted that Bruce be included and, despite his intense personal dislike of the bassist, Baker agreed due to Jack Bruce's undeniable technical ability. The band lasted for less than three years, but had an enormous impact during that short period. The jazz methods of improvisation and extended soloing allowed all three members to showcase their abilities, and by some odd fluke this approach proved to be commercially as well as critically viable. This unexpected popularity was the bands undoing, and by 1968 Cream had collapsed under the weight of its own success.

After Cream, both Clapton and Baker joined with Steve Winwood to form Blind Faith, the first band to be saddled with the description of "super-group". Blind Faith followed Cream's example of living fast and dying young: similarly popular, by 1970 it was toast. Ginger then formed Ginger Baker's Airforce, which strayed farther beyond the rock idiom than his previous bands -- in particular, integrating aspects of traditional African music. Baker also moved to Nigeria during this time, and set up the region's first professional multi-track studio.

In the years since, Ginger Baker has remained intermittently active; zealously avoiding any repeat of the "superstardom" he was afflicted with while a member of Cream, his output continues to focus more strongly on his interests in jazz and African music. His efforts during the 80s and 90s have included collaborations with producer Bill Laswell and a couple of different projects in the jazz trio format.

Father: (bricklayer, d., WWII)
Mother: Ruby
Sister: (younger)
Wife: Elizabeth Ann Baker (m. 17-Feb-1959, div. 1978)
Daughter: Ginette Baker ("Nettie", b. 1961)
Daughter: Leda
Son: Kofi Baker (drummer)
Wife: Sarah (m. 1983, div. 1984)
Wife: Karen Loucks (m. 1990, div. 1999)
Wife: Kudzai Machokoto (m. 25-Feb-2010)
Daughter: Lisa (stepdaughter)
Slept with: Germaine Greer

    Alexis Korner's Blues Incorporated Drummer (1962-63)
    The Graham Bond Organisation Drummer (1963-65)
    Cream Drummer (1966-68)
    Blind Faith Drummer (1969-70)
    Ginger Baker's Airforce Drummer (1970-71)
    Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Cream (1993)
    Drug Overdose multiple
    Drug Possession: Marijuana
    Risk Factors: Marijuana, Cocaine, Heroin, Arthritis, Deafness, Emphysema, Smoking

    Beware of Mr. Baker (10-Mar-2012) · Himself
    Gonks Go Beat (1965) · Himself

Official Website:

Author of books:
Ginger Baker: Hellraiser: The Autobiography of the World's Greatest Drummer (2010, memoir)

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