a Scottish musician, composer and singer. He is best-known as a bass guitarist, harmonica player and pianist, and was most famous as vocalist and the bass guitarist for the 1960s rock band Cream. He lives in Suffolk, England.
The London Sunday Times stated "... many consider him to be one of the greatest bass players of all time."
In July 1966 Bruce moved on to his most famous role as bass player, main songwriter and lead vocalist with Ginger Baker and Eric Clapton in the power trio Cream, considered the first supergroup.
While with Cream, Bruce played a Gibson EB-3 electric bass and became the most famous bassist in rock, winning musicians polls and influencing the next generation of bassists such as Sting, Geddy Lee and Jeff Berlin. He also wrote most of Cream's original material, with lyricist Pete Brown, including the hits, "Sunshine of Your Love", "White Room", and "I Feel Free".
By 1968, Cream were hugely successful; they grossed more than the next top six live acts of the day added together (including Jimi Hendrix and The Doors). They topped album charts all over the world, and received the first platinum discs for record sales, but the old enmity of Bruce and Baker resurfaced in 1968, and after a final tour, Cream broke up.
Collaborative efforts with musicians, in many genres - heavy rock, jazz, blues, fusion, avant-garde, world music, and R&B - has been a continuing theme of Bruce's career. Alongside these he has produced a long line of solo albums. In contrast to his collaborative works the solo albums usually maintain a common theme: melodic songs with a complex musical structure and lyrics by Pete Brown, based around a core band. This structure is loosened on his live solo albums and DVDs, where extended improvisations similar to those employed by Cream in live performance are sometimes still used.
In August 1968, before Cream split, Bruce recorded an acoustic free jazz album with John McLaughlin, Dick Heckstall-Smith and Jon Hiseman. This was issued in 1970 as Bruce's second solo album, Things We Like. The album was a precursor to the jazz fusion boom in the early 1970s, and more recently has been sampled by many hip hop artists.
Bruce's first solo release, Songs for a Tailor, was issued in September 1969, and also featured Heckstall-Smith and Hiseman. It was a worldwide hit, but, after a brief supporting tour backed by Larry Coryell and Mitch Mitchell, Bruce joined the jazz fusion group Lifetime. With drummer Tony Williams, guitarist John McLaughlin and organist Larry Young, the group recorded two albums; Bruce joined on the second album, Turn It Over. However, Lifetime did not receive much critical or commercial acclaim at the time, and the band broke up in 1971. Bruce then recorded his third solo album Harmony Row, but this was not as commercially successful as Songs for a Tailor.
In 1972, Bruce formed a blues rock power trio, West, Bruce and Laing. Besides Bruce, the group included singer/guitarist Leslie West and drummer Corky Laing, both formerly of the Cream-influenced American band Mountain. West, Bruce and Laing produced two studio albums, Why Dontcha and Whatever Turns You On, and one live album, Live 'n' Kickin'. The band broke up shortly before Live 'n' Kickin's release in early 1974, and Bruce released his fourth solo album Out of the Storm later that year. Also in 1974 he made a guest appearance on the title track of Frank Zappa's album Apostrophe ('). Though credited with playing bass and co-writing the song, Bruce later jokingly insisted in a 1992 interview that he played only cello parts.
A 1975 tour was lined up to support the Out of the Storm album with a band featuring former Rolling Stones guitarist Mick Taylor and jazz keyboard player Carla Bley, with whom he had collaborated in 1971 on Escalator over the Hill. The tour was documented on Live '75 (at the Manchester Free Trade Hall), but it ended with Taylor's departure, and no studio album was completed.
In 1977, Bruce formed a new band with drummer Simon Phillips and keyboardist Tony Hymas. The group recorded an album, called How's Tricks. A world tour followed, but the album was a commercial failure. The follow-up album Jet Set Jewel was put on hold when Bruce was dropped by his record label, RSO. In 1979, Bruce toured with members from the Mahavishnu Orchestra, reuniting him with John McLaughlin, and introducing him to drummer Billy Cobham. A 3-CD collection of his 1970s BBC recordings called Spirit was released in 2008.
In 1989, Bruce began recording material with Ginger Baker and released another solo album, A Question of Time. Baker and Bruce toured the United States at turn of the decade. Bruce played at the Montreaux Jazz Festival in 1991, and invited Irish blues rock performer, Rory Gallagher (who had a long-standing relationship with Bruce, having supported Cream's farewell concert, in the band, Taste in 1968) to perform a song with Bruce onstage. In 1993 Baker appeared, along with a host of former Bruce band colleagues, at a special concert in Cologne to celebrate Bruce's 50th birthday. A special guest was another Irish blues-rock guitarist Gary Moore. The concert recordings with Moore were released as the live double album Cities of the Heart. On the back of this successful gig Bruce, Baker and Moore formed the power trio BBM, and their subsequent (and only) album Around the Next Dream was a top ten hit in the UK. However, the old Bruce/Baker arguments arose again and the subsequent tour was cut short and the band broke up. A low-key solo album, Monkjack, followed in 1995, featuring Bruce on piano and vocals accompanied by Funkadelic organist Bernie Worrell.
Songs for a Tailor is the 1969 solo studio album debut of musician, composer and singer Jack Bruce, who was already famous at the time of its release for his work with the supergroup Cream. Originally released on the Polydor label in Europe and on Atco Records in the U.S., Songs for a Tailor was the second solo album that Bruce recorded, though he did not release the first, Things We Like, for another year.
The album, which was titled in tribute to Cream's recently deceased clothing designer, displayed more of the musician's diverse influences than his compositions for Cream, though it did not chart as highly as his work with that band. Nevertheless, it was successful, reaching #6 on the UK Albums Chart and #55 on the Billboard "Pop Albums" chart.
While it has not been universally critically well-received, with a notable negative review by Rolling Stone on its first release, it is generally acclaimed and is considered among Bruce's best albums. The literary lyrics by poet and songwriter Pete Brown have been particularly divisive, with one notable critic singling them out for praise while others have been more generally critical. Notable songs on the album include "Never Tell Your Mother She's Out of Tune", with guitar by George Harrison, and "Theme for an Imaginary Western", which was covered famously by Leslie West's Mountain, and is featured in 2006's 1001 Songs: The Great Songs of All Time and the Artists, Stories and Secrets Behind Them.
After performing with various blues bands in his youth, Bruce rose to prominence in the rock world as a member of influential rock band Cream. After the group disbanded in 1969, Bruce began releasing solo material. Songs for a Tailor, released in September 1969, was Bruce's debut solo release, but chronologically his second solo album; Things We Like, his first solo recording, was released a year later.
The album was titled in tribute to Jeannie Franklyn ("Genie the Tailor"), a clothing designer who designed wardrobes for Cream and was also the girlfriend of Fairport Convention guitarist Richard Thompson. In 1969, Franklyn wrote Bruce a letter requesting that he sing some high notes for me," a letter that reached him on May 14, 1969, the day she was killed in a motor vehicle accident in Fairport Convention's touring van. Franklyn died—and Bruce received the letter from her—on his 26th birthday.
A blues and jazz musician by background who had studied Bach and Scottish folk music as a child, Bruce produced a debut effort that was musically diverse. Songs for a Tailor was described in Music Week on its 2003 reissue as "an impressive effort defying musical categorisation". Two of the songs—"Weird of Hermiston" and "The Clearout"—had originally been penned for possible inclusion on the 1967 Cream album Disraeli Gears. However, the album was not simply a continuation of Bruce's material for Cream, but displayed more of the musician's diversity.
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