August 19: Ginger Baker Birthday

Ginger Baker und Jonas Hellborg 1987

“They credited us with the birth of that sort of heavy metal thing. Well, if that’s the case, there should be an immediate abortion.”
~Ginger Baker

If I am playing any music at all it is jazz music.
~Ginger Baker

There are a lot of great drummers. But Ginger Baker is an inspiration because of a certain almost relaxing quality that he brings to the drums. While a lot of drummers are putting speed and power first, Baker put rhythm first.

Ginger Baker Biography – youtube video:

From Wikipedia:

Birth name Peter Edward Baker
Born 19 August 1939 (age 76)
London, England
Genres Jazz, blues rock, psychedelic rock, hard rock, jazz fusion
Occupations Musician, songwriter
Instruments Drums, percussion
Years active 1958–present
Labels Polydor, Warner Bros., Island, Universal,Atlantic
Associated acts Blues Incorporated, Ginger Baker and Friends, Cream, Blind Faith, Baker Gurvitz Army, Ginger Baker’s Air Force, Hawkwind,Public Image Ltd., Atomic Rooster, Masters of Reality, Ginger Baker Trio, BBM, Fela Kuti

Peter Edward “Ginger” Baker (born 19 August 1939, Lewisham, South London) is an English drummer, best known for his work with Cream and Blind Faith. He is also known for his numerous associations with World music, mainly the use of African influences. He has also had other collaborations such as with Gary Moore, Hawkwind and Public Image Ltd.


Baker’s drumming attracted attention for its flamboyance, showmanship and his use of two bass drums instead of the conventional single bass kick drum (following a similar set-up used by Louie Bellson during his days with Duke Ellington). Although a firmly established rock drummer and praised as “Rock’s first superstar drummer”, he prefers being called a jazz drummer. Baker’s influence has extended to drummers of both genres, including Billy Cobham, Peter Criss, Bill Ward, Ian Paice, Nick Mason,  and John Bonham. AllMusic has described him as “the most influential percussionist of the 1960s” and stated that “virtually every drummer of every heavy metal band that has followed since that time has sought to emulate some aspect of Baker’s playing.”

While at times performing in a similar way to Keith Moon from The Who, Baker also employs a more restrained style influenced by the British jazz groups he heard during the late 1950s and early 1960s. In his early days as a drummer, he performed lengthy drum solos, the best known being the five minute drum solo “Toad” from Cream’s debut album Fresh Cream (1966). He is also noted for using a variety of other percussion instruments and for his application of African rhythms. He would often emphasize the flam, a drum rudiment in which both sticks attack the drumhead at almost the same time, giving a heavy thunderous sound.

From Allmusic (Bruce Eder): Ginger Baker was rock’s first superstar drummer and the most influential percussionist of the 1960s. There were other drummers who were well-known to the public before him, including the Beatles’ Ringo Starr and, in England at the end of the 1950s, the Shadows’ Tony Meehan, but they were famous primarily for the groups in which they played and for attributes beyond their musicianship. Baker made his name entirely on his playing, initially as showcased in Cream, but far transcending even that trio’s relatively brief existence. Though he only cut top-selling records for a period of about three years at the end of the 1960s, virtually every drummer of every heavy metal band that has followed since that time has sought to emulate some aspect of Baker’s playing.
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“Toad” (Cream) – live at Royal Albert Hall, London. November 26th, 1968:

June 7, 1969 at Hyde Park.

Cream – Disraeli Gears (1967):


01 Strange Brew”
02 Sunshine of Your Love”
03 World of Pain”
04 Dance the Night Away”
05 Blue Condition”
06 Tales of Brave Ulysses”
08 We’re Going Wrong”
09 Outside Woman Blues”
10 Take It Back”
11 Mother’s Lament”