We lost the great John Symon Asher "Jack" Bruce (14 May 1943 – 25 October 2014) a Scottish musician and composer, known as a founder member of the British psychedelic rock power trio, Cream, in the late 1960s.
He maintained a solo career that spanned several decades, and also played in several musical groups. Known as a vocalist and bass guitarist, Bruce was also a songwriter. Bruce was trained as a classical cellist, and he considered himself a jazz musician, although much of his catalogue of compositions and recordings tended toward blues and rock and roll. The Sunday Times stated "... many consider him to be one of the greatest bass players of all time."
In July 1966 Bruce, Eric Clapton and drummer Ginger Baker founded the power trio Cream, which gained international recognition playing blues-rock and jazz inflected rock music. Bruce sang most of the lead vocals, with Clapton backing him up and eventually assuming some leads himself.
Bruce, with his Gibson EB-3 electric bass, became one of the most famous bassists in rock, winning musicians' polls and influencing the next generation of bassists such as Sting, Geddy Lee and Jeff Berlin. Bruce co-wrote most of Cream's single releases with lyricist Pete Brown, including the hits, "Sunshine of Your Love", "White Room", and "I Feel Free". In 1968, Cream broke up.
The band's break-up was announced 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. Bruce was credited with bass and for co-writing the song. However, when asked about Zappa in a 1992 interview Bruce tried to change the subject and jokingly insisted that he had played only cello parts. In 1973, Bruce recorded bass guitar for Lou Reed's Berlin album playing on all but two tracks.
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 Manchester's Free Trade Hall), but it ended with Taylor's departure, and no studio album was completed.
February 2012 saw Bruce playing in Havana, Cuba, along with guitarist Phil Manzanera, supporting the mambo band of Augusto Enriquez. March saw another residency at Ronnie Scott's in London supported by his Big Blues Band, followed by a UK tour. The concert at the Stables, Milton Keynes on 18 March was due to be recorded as an Instant Live CD release, but technical issues prevented this. The following evenings performance at the same location was recorded and a 2CD version issued by Instant Live.
Spectrum Road was released in June 2012 by the US jazz record label Palmetto Records. It is accompanied by a series of dates at large jazz festivals in North America and Europe throughout June and July.
Bruce released new studio album Silver Rails in March 2014 on the Esoteric Antenna, his first solo studio album in over a decade. record label. "Silver Rails" was recorded at Abbey Road Studios in London and features contributions from Cream (band) lyricists Pete Brown, Kip Hanrahan and wife Margrit Seyffer as well as musicians Robin Trower, Cindy Blackman, Phil Manzanera, Uli Jon Roth, John Medeski and Bernie Marsden. The deluxe version of the album featured a behind the scenes documentary "The Making of Silver Rails" which was filmed on location at Abbey Road Studios and directed by Bruce's daughter Kyla Simone Bruce. Bruce's son Malcolm Bruce pre-produced the album and played guitar on several tracks and Bruce's daughter Aruba Red was featured on "Hidden Cities" singing backing vocals.
Bruce died on 25 October 2014 from liver disease in Suffolk, England, aged 71. His publicist Claire Singers said: "He died today at his home in Suffolk surrounded by his family."