Dead, Scottish musician John Symon Asher “Jack” Bruce on the 25th of October 2014 at the age of 71, born on the 14th of May 1943 in Bishopbriggs, Lanarkshire, to Betty (Asher) and Charlie Bruce, musical parents who moved frequently, resulting in the young Bruce attending 14 different schools, ending up at Bellahouston Academy.
He began playing the jazz bass in his teens and won a scholarship to study cello and musical composition at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama while playing in Jim McHarg’s Scotsville Jazzband to support himself.
In March, 2011, Rolling Stone readers selected him as the eighth greatest bass guitarist of all time.
“Most musicians would have a very hard time distinguishing themselves if they wound up in a band with Eric Clapton and Ginger Baker,” the magazine said at the time, “but JackBruce was so gifted on the bass that he did it with ease.”
In 1962 Bruce became a member of the London-based band Blues Incorporated, led by Alexis Korner, in which he played the upright bass.
The band also included organist Graham Bond, saxophonist Dick Heckstall-Smith and Ginger Baker.
In 1963 the group broke up and Bruce went on to form the Graham Bond Quartet with Bond, Baker and guitarist John McLaughlin.
They played an eclectic range of music genres, including bebop, blues and rhythm and blues.
As a result of session work at this time, Bruce switched from the upright bass to the electric bass guitar.
The move to electric bass happened as McLaughlin was dropped from the band; he was replaced by Heckstall-Smith on saxophone and the band pursued a more concise R&B sound and changed their name to the Graham Bond Organisation.
By 1979, Bruce’s drug habit had reached such a level that he had lost most of his money.
Bruce contributed as a session musician to recordings by Cozy Powell, Gary Moore and Jon Anderson to raise money.
By 1980 his career was back on track with his new band, Jack Bruce & Friends, consisting of drummer Billy Cobham, guitarist Clem Clempson and keyboardist/guitarist David Sancious.
After releasing an album, I’ve Always Wanted to Do This, at the end of 1980, they undertook a long tour to support the record, but it was not a commercial success and they disbanded.
In the early 1980s, he also joined up to play with friends from his Alexis Korner days in Rocket 88, the back-to-the-roots band that Ian Stewart had arranged, and Bruce appears on the album of the same name, recorded live in Germany in 1980.
They also recorded a “live in the studio” album called Blues & Boogie Explosion for the German audiophile record label Jeton.
That year he also collaborated on the Soft Machine album Land of Cockayne (1981).
In 2006, Bruce and his Cream mates received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.
Bruce also occasionally served as a member of Ringo Starr’s All-Starr Band and collaborated on the title track of Frank Zappa’s Apostrophe.
Following Cream’s breakup in 1968, Bruce kickstarted a long solo career with 1969’s Songs of a Tailor.
He would release over a dozen solo LPs over the next 45 years, including his latest album titled Silver Rails in March 2014.