Cream Bassist Jack Bruce Dead at 71

    Photo: Tina Korhonen

    Jack Bruce, bass player, singer and songwriter for legendary supergroup Cream, has died.  He was 71.

    A message on the musician's official website reads, "It is with great sadness that we, Jack's family, announce the passing of our beloved Jack: husband, father, granddad and all around legend. The world of music will be a poorer place without him, but he lives on in his music and forever in our hearts."

    Bruce formed Cream in the mid-sixties with guitarist Eric Clapton and drummer Ginger Baker; their name came from the notion all three of them were the "the cream of the crop" on their respective instruments.   In addition to playing bass, Bruce also sang many of the band's best known tunes, and co-wrote classics like "Sunshine of Your Love," "White Room" and "I Feel Free."  Bruce's bass playing influenced a generation of musicians, including Sting, and Geddy Lee of Rush.

    After Cream split in 1968, Bruce continued to play live, and release albums, both solo and as part of various groups, such as the blues trio West, Bruce & Laing.  In 1993, for the first time in 25 years, Cream reformed to perform together: the occasion was their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

    Cream reunited in 2005 at the Royal Albert Hall in London for a series of four shows, and for a single show at New York's Madison Square Garden.  The shows were recorded and released as a live CD and DVD.

    In 2012, Bruce told ABC News Radio that there had been talk of another reunion in 2013, but that it looked like it wasn't going to happen because Ginger Baker was once again on the outs with Eric Clapton.  While Bruce said he knows that there's a lot of love for Cream, and he wouldn't be "churlish" enough to refuse to do a couple of reunion concerts at some point, he noted, "I've got so many other things happening and I don't wanna be a tribute band to myself."

    Bruce continued to tour and record; his most recent album, Silver Rails, came out this past March.  Asked in 2012 what kept him going, Bruce told ABC News Radio, "I think the music helps to keep you going and if you think about some of the great classical instrumentalists as well as uh, as well as conductors and so on, the can tell after you finished a concert, you feel and look ten years younger, you know?  Everyone should be a musician!"

     Rolling Stone contributing editor Anthony DeCurtis tells ABC News Radio that while Bruce isn't always remembered for his singing, his unique vocal style helped define Cream's sound.  "'Sunshine of Your Love,' 'White Room,' both of those songs have Jack Bruce in the lead vocal," notes DeCurtis. "Not only was he a great bass player, but he was a powerful, very emotional singer and he gave that group both a muscular sound and also a muscular delivery in the vocals."

    DeCurtis says that Bruce, along with Baker and Clapton, laid the groundwork for the music of the seventies. "Led Zeppelin, for example, is a band that was influenced by Cream," he says. "They defined a style of rock-and-roll that made you take rock-and-roll seriously because these guys were amazing players. They weren't just teenagers bashing around."  

    Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


    Carlos Santana & Son Playing National Anthem at Tonight's World Series Game

    Maryanne Bilham/RCA RecordsJust a reminder that Carlos Santana will be playing "The Star-Spangled Banner" tonight before Game Four of the 2014 World Series between his hometown San Francisco Giants and the Kansas City Royals.  The guitar legend will perform an instrumental version of the national anthem accompanied by his son Salvador.

    The game, which will take place at San Francisco's AT&T Park, will air on Fox starting at 7:30 p.m. ET.

    Meanwhile, Santana's latest studio effort, Corazon, his first Spanish-language album, recently picked up a 2014 Latin Grammy Award nomination in the Best Contemporary Pop Vocal Album category.  In addition, the guitarist's Corazón: Live from Mexico -- Live It to Believe It concert documentary received a nod for the Best Long Form Music Video.  This year's ceremony will be held on November 20 at the MGM Grand Garden Area in Las Vegas, and will be broadcast live on the Univision Network at 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT.

    Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

    Faces Keyboardist Ian McLagan to Perform at Select Dates on Nick Lowe's Holiday Tour

    Jim Chapin; Dan Burn-FortiIt looks like Ian McLagan will be a very busy musician for the rest of the year.  The famed Faces and Small Faces keyboardist, who currently is out on a U.S. headlining tour in support of his latest solo album, United States, has been tapped to be a support act for most of the shows on Nick Lowe's forthcoming holiday trek.

    Lowe's outing will promote the veteran singer/songwriter's 2013 Christmas album, Quality Street: A Seasonal Selection for All the Family.  The 13-date stateside tour is scheduled to run from a December 3 show Minneapolis through a December 20 concert in Brooklyn, New York.  The gigs will feature Lowe playing a mix of his classic songs alongside various holiday-themed tunes.

    So far, McLagan is only confirmed to appear at five of the announced shows, but is expected to join the bill at more stops.  Meanwhile, Ian has eight upcoming concerts of his own. His itinerary runs from a show Saturday night in New Haven, Connecticut, through a November 20 visit to The Woodlands, Texas.  At all of these dates, McLagan will be accompanied by bassist Jon Notarthomas of his longtime backing group The Bump Band.

    Here are McLagan's upcoming headlining dates:

    10/25 -- New Haven, CT, Cafe Nine
    10/27 -- Lexington, KY, Woodsongs Radio Hour
    10/29 -- Newport, KY, Southgate House Revival - Sanctuary
    10/30 -- Berwyn, IL, Fitzgerald's Nightclub
    10/31 -- Des Moines, IA, Vaudeville Mews
    11/1 -- Oklahoma City, OK, The Blue Door
    11/20 -- The Woodlands, TX, Dosey Doe

    Here are Nick Lowe's holiday concerts:

    12/3 -- Minneapolis, MN, First Avenue
    *12/4 -- Madison, WI, Barrymore Theater
    12/6 -- Chicago, Old Town School of Folk Music
    12/7 -- Chicago, Old Town School of Folk Music
    *12/9 -- Ann Arbor, MI, The Ark
    *12/10 -- Cleveland, OH, Beachland Ballroom
    12/12 -- Alexandria, VA, Birchmere Music Hall
    12/13 -- Collingswood, NJ, Scottish Rite Theater
    12/14 -- New York, NY, Bowery Ballroom
    12/16 -- Boston, MA, Paradise
    *12/17 -- Fall River, MA, Narrows Center for the Arts
    *12/19 -- Albany, NY, Swyer Theater at The Egg
    12/20 -- Brooklyn, NY, Music Hall of Williamsburg

    * = McLagan also confirmed to perform.

    Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

    Chaka Khan Performs Tribute to Maurice White of Earth, Wind & Fire

    PAUL BERGEN/AFP/Getty ImagesChaka Khan will perform a tribute to the founder of Earth, Wind & Fire, Maurice White,  tonight during the 13th annual “A Great Night in Harlem” at the Apollo Theater in New York City. The event is a fundraiser for Quincy Jones’ Jazz Foundation of America which assists needy musicians around the country.

    White’s brother, Earth, Wind & Fire bass player Verdine White, will participate in the tribute along with Questlove from The Roots and Ray Parker Jr.  EW&F released its first Christmas album, Holiday, on Tuesday.

    Jones will also present the foundation’s Lifetime Achievement Award to jazz pianist Herbie Hancock.

    Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

    Ray Davies Says Conflict Between Brother and Drummer Mick Avory Could Quash Kinks Reunion

    Decca Label GroupRecent comments from The Kinks' Ray and Dave Davies have suggested that the contentious siblings are finally close to agreeing on doing a new project together in the coming year. NowRay now has revealed a major roadblock is standing in the way of a band reunion.

    The 70-year-old singer/songwriter tells U.K. newspaper The Telegraph that the obstacle to reunion is Dave's refusal to play with the group's founding drummer, Mick Avory.

    "I really can't play with my brother as that name, The Kinks, and not have Mick in," explains Ray.  "Mick will work with him but Dave doesn't want to work with Mick.  Sibling rivalry is nothing on their rivalry.  I have no idea what's wrong with them."

    Ray and Dave's animosity toward each other has been well documented, but Dave and Mick's mutual dislike goes way back as well.  They've reportedly come to blows on numerous occasions dating at least as far back as 1965.

    Asked whether the disagreement was impossible to overcome, Ray answered, "Yeah.  This week it is."

    Meanwhile, Ray's complicated relationship with his brother is one of the focal points of the stage musical he wrote based on The Kinks' early years.  Titled Sunny Afternoon, it opened recently on London's West End.

    Ray describes the production as "a song cycle about two lads who didn't really fit together." He adds, "I never really had a relationship with my brother in a normal way.  But what's wonderful is the telepathy we have.  Or did have."

    Sunny Afternoon is playing at the Harold Pinter Theatre through January 31, 2015.

    Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


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