Ginger Baker’s Hidden Gems

Source: Variety. Collaborations with Fela Kuti, Hawkwind, and PiL.

When Ginger Baker died Sunday at the age of 80 after years of ill health, the rock era lost its first real superstar drummer.

Mind you, Baker would’ve absolutely hated having his name tied to anything rock — in death and he did in life — despite having made his notoriety, initially, with the genre’s first power trio and supergroup, Cream, in 1966, followed by Blind Faith in 1969.

Like jazz drummers Louie Bellson and Rufus Jones long before him, Baker was a proponent of the double-bass drum sound, and turned the jazz tradition of rolling, raging thunderous solos, a la Max Roach and Art Blakey, into a heavy rock staple. Baker was known for everything from Dixieland to blues, fusion, Afrobeat, free jazz, post-punk and more. Focus on rock while dealing with him, and you could get a caning such as the one that the drummer famously gave film director/acolyte Jay Bulger during his 2012 documentary “Beware of Mr. Baker.”