Ginger Baker, Cream Drummer and Force of Nature, Dies at 80

Ginger Baker, There are many new and superlatives in the career of Ginger Baker, the drummer and bandleader who died Sunday morning at age 80. His family was announced by his family on social networks; They said on September 25 that he was “seriously ill” without giving details.

Ginger Baker, Cream Drummer and Force of Nature, Dies at 80
David Redfern/Redferns

Son of the eyes of a bricklayer from South London, Baker was the engine room of the first and most revered trio of rock power, Cream. He played a similar key role in creating the finest work of one of the first rock supergroups, Blind Faith.

Then, in the 1970s, Baker led groups that combined the extravagant intensity of rock with the complex polyrhythms of jazz and jazz-rock fusion. He was the first timekeeper of the rock era to seek out and master the nuances of the African drummer, collaborating with Nigerian pioneer Afrobeat, Fela Kuti, in performances captured in a 1971 live album.

Ginger Baker, born August 19, 1939, in south-east London, won the admiration of his colleagues. Eric Clapton, a contributor of Cream, described him as a “qualified musician”. He also had an ego at the height of his achievements: he titled his memoirs Hellraiser: the autobiography of the greatest drummer in the world. Police drummer Stewart Copeland, one of the many rockers who sees Baker as the main inspiration, told an interviewer, “He’s the one making the music.”

But as was clear in the small flattering documentary of 2012 Beware of Mr. Baker, Cream’s drummer was rude, irritating and very close to problems. The film begins with the interviewer receiving the shot in the face of Baker’s cane; He continues to tell the story of Jack Bruce, Baker’s and Cream’s bassist, and quotes Baker’s mockery against contemporaries such as Keith Moon of The Who and John Bonham of Led Zeppelin.