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Jack Bruce

Composer, Lyricist
( b. May 14, 1943 Glasgow, SCOTLAND - d. Oct 25, 2014 Suffolk, ENGLAND ) Male
Jack Bruce became famous in the 1960s as the bassist and lead vocalist for the hugely successful rock group Cream, and his adventurous approach to his instrument influenced two generations of rock bassists.

Mr. Bruce was well known in British rock and blues circles but virtually unknown in the United States when he teamed with the guitarist Eric Clapton and the drummer Ginger Baker to form Cream in 1966.

One of the first of the so-called power trios -- the Jimi Hendrix Experience soon followed in its wake -- Cream had its roots in the blues and became known for Mr. Clapton's long, virtuosic solos on reworked versions of blues standards like "Crossroads" and "Spoonful."

There were also many original compositions in Cream's repertoire, most of them -- including the hits "Sunshine of Your Love," "I Feel Free" and "White Room" -- written by Mr. Bruce, usually with lyrics by the poet Pete Brown. ("Sunshine," the group's biggest hit, was a rare Bruce-Brown-Clapton collaboration.)

Mr. Bruce did most of the singing, in a polished tenor that could be both powerful and plaintive, and his fluid and propulsive playing provided a solid counterpoint to Mr. Baker's explosive drumming and Mr. Clapton's guitar pyrotechnics. His inventive introductions to songs like "Badge" were an essential part of Cream's sound. Roger Waters of Pink Floyd recently called Mr. Bruce "probably the most musically gifted bass player who's ever been."

Cream enjoyed almost immediate success but did not last long. Friction between Mr. Bruce and Mr. Baker is the reason most often cited for the group's breakup in 1968, after touring extensively and releasing four albums whose total sales have been estimated at 35 million.

Mr. Clapton and Mr. Baker soon reunited and joined with the keyboardist and guitarist Steve Winwood and the bassist Ric Grech to form the group Blind Faith. Despite high expectations, Blind Faith proved to be even more short-lived than Cream, disbanding after one album and one tour. Mr. Bruce, meanwhile, was charting a more ambitious if less commercial musical course.

He recorded a jazz album, "Things We Like," shortly before Cream disbanded, although it was not released until after an album in a more conventional rock vein, "Songs for a Tailor," which he recorded after the breakup. He briefly toured with the guitarist Larry Coryell and the drummer and former Hendrix sideman Mitch Mitchell, and then joined the drummer Tony Williams's pioneering jazz-rock band, Lifetime, alongside the guitarist John McLaughlin and the organist Larry Young.

Mr. Bruce later led several groups of his own and was a co-leader of bands with the guitarist Robin Trower and with the guitarist Leslie West and the drummer Corky Laing. He was also an occasional member of Ringo Starr's All-Starr Band.

Source: The New York Times obituary



Productions Date of Productions
Rock 'N Roll! The First 5,000 Years
[Musical, Revue, Original]
  • Featuring songs by Jack Bruce
  • Featuring songs with lyrics by Jack Bruce
Oct 24, 1982 - Oct 31, 1982
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