Archive for the ‘Jack Bruce’ Category

Jack Bruce & his Big Blues Band Newcastle Tyne Theatre March 31st 2012

Jack Bruce and his Big Blues Band Tyne Theatre
Excellent show by Jack Bruce last night in Newcastle. Jack has assembled a first class seven piece band consisting of ace guitarist Tony Remy, drummer Frank Tontoh, keyboardist Paddy Milner, second bassist Nick Cohen, trombonist Winston Rollins, tenor saxophonist Derek Nash, and trumpeter Paul Newton. They really were great throughout with guitarist Tony worthy of mention for some exception solos. Jack took to the stage around 8.20pm sitting alone at a piano stage left. He was soon joined by the rest of the band, and then picked up his fretless bass and took up his place centre stage. The set was a mixture of solo material, blues and Cream classics. Quite a few were from the Songs For A Tailor lp. He introduced Neighbour Neighbour as “a song I used to sing with Graham Bond, back then, before I was born”. This guy goes back some. Theme from an Imaginary Western was performed beautifully, Jack’s voice sometimes straining a little to reach the high notes, yet coming over as powerful and haunting as ever. The blues of Spoonful and Born Under a Bad Sign gave the band a chance to shine, and featured some excellent solos. We’re Going Wrong is a great song, perhaps Cream’s best, and as relevant today as it was in the 60s. The last few songs were the almost inevitable White Room and Sunshine of Your Love. Its great that the old guys from the 60s are still around touring, and playing to an audience that, looking around the Tyne Theatre last night, is growing old with them. Jack suffered from a period of ill health around ten years ago, but looks great these days. Long may it be the case. Modern technology even reaches the old guys. You could buy a CD of the show at the desk (actually I’m not sure it was last night’s show you could buy or a recording of a previous night). The show finished around 10.15pm, leaving plenty of time for fishcake and chips from the wonderful local chippy on the corner. Setlist (something like): Can you follow?; Morning Story;You Burned the tables on me; Neighbour Neighbour; Child Song; Weird of Hermiston; Folk Song; Theme from an Imaginary Western; Tickets to Waterfalls; Spoonful; Born under a Bad Sign; We’re Going Wrong; Deserted Cities; White Room; Sunshine of Your Love. Encore: Politician. Just ran into an old mate Jim in the local supermarket. He’d also been at the gig last night and had spotted me there. He said that he had gone along with an open mind, not knowing what to expect, but had really enjoyed it.

Jack Bruce Band with Mick Taylor and Carla Bley Newcastle City Hall 1975

Jack Bruce band with Mick Taylor and Carla Bley Newcastle City Hall
A strange grouping this one. Take an ex Rolling Stone guitarist, an ex Cream bassist and a jazz keyboard player and what do you get? Actually what you did get was quite an intriguing concert experience, which as I recall promised a little more than it actually delivered on the night. I knew, of course, of Jack Bruce and Mick Taylor, but I had not heard of Carla Bley, or her recent Escalator On The Hill album, before going to this gig. The trio were short lived and never made it into the studio to record an lp, although a live album of the band does exist. The press of the time said: “The Bruce Band will play a smooth synthesis of diverse styles, forging ahead with a firm grasp of ‘60’s rock and ‘70’s space jazz. The personnel is all-star, but the band belongs to Jack, whose music cements the band’s foundations.” Based on a live album and reviews of the time the set will probably have consisted of something like: Can You Follow?; Morning Story; Politician; Keep It Down; Pieces Of Mind; Tickets To Waterfalls/Weird Of Hermiston/Post War; Spirit; Sunshine Of Your Love. I’m off to see Jack Bruce at the Tyne Theatre tonight; I’ll post a review tomorrow.

Cream The Royal Albert Hall London 6 May 2005

Cream The Royal Albert Hall London 2005
This was a big gig for me. I’d watched the Cream farewell concert on TV in the late 60s and was just mesmerised by Clapton. His hair, the psychedelic painted SG, the “woman” tone he described in the film, it all seemed just sensational to me, as a kid at the time. I so wished that I’d had the chance to see Cream. I remember older boys at school talking about seeing them at a gig in Newcastle and saying how great they were. I was so jealous of them. I bought Goodbye Cream and played it again and again. I saw Clapton many times in the 70s and 80s, and Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker with their solo projects. But to see Cream was a great dream, an ambition. So when the rumours of a reunion came to fruition and it was announced that the three legends would come together for a series of shows in London I was determined to go. I was nervous about getting tickets, and stressed about it for days before they went on sale. On the morning that they did go on sale I had two phones and a computer to hand, and got straight through to the Albert Hall box office on one of the phones, managing to my joy to buy tickets some ten rows from the stage. I then waited in anticipation for the gig. Would it be as good as I hoped? Marie came with me, and we both thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Judging by the American accents in evidence, the Albert Hall was full of fans who had travelled a long way for the honour of seeing this legendary band play for one more time. The atmosphere was strange, everyone was quiet in anticipation. It was as if the crowd couldn’t believe what they were seeing. Quiet, almost religious. The set covered everything I could have wished for with a selection from all of the albums. Clapton was god again, Jack sang beautifully and Ginger pounded away on his drums. The crowd stayed in their seats until almost the end. For Sunshine of Your Love, which was the encore, we were all up and we managed to get right to the front. Marie was leaning on the stage directly in front of Jack Bruce and I was just behind her. You can even see us on the DVD if you look closely. A night that I will remember for ever. Sometimes your dreams do come true, and sometimes they are as good as you dreamed they would be. Happy days. Setlist: I’m So Glad; Spoonful; Outside Woman Blues; Pressed Rat and Wart Hog; Sleepy Time Time; N.S.U.; Badge; Politician; Sweet Wine; Rollin’ And Tumblin’; Stormy Monday; Deserted Cities of the Heart; Born Under a Bad Sign; We’re Going Wrong; Crossroads; Sitting on Top of the World; White Room; Toad. Encore:Sunshine of Your Love.

West, Bruce and Laing Newcastle City Hall 1973

West, Bruce and Laing Newcastle City Hall 1973
Now that WAS a rock band. Take Mountain guitar genius Leslie West, Cream super bassist Jack Bruce and powerhouse (also from Mountain) drummer Corky Laing, and you were certain to produce a great band. I’d seen Mountain the year before and had been blown away by Leslie West’s unique guitar style which moved effortlessly from very very heavy to gentle and beautiful. Mountain were very obviously influenced by Cream who I had sadly never seen (this was to be remedied many years later at their Albert Hall reunion), so I along with many others looked forward to see this power trio. My mate John and I went along to the gig, which proved to be just as good as I imagined, the set drawn from the West, Bruce and Laing album, and the Cream and Mountain back catalogue. John was a major Mountain fan, was very excited about the show and remembers it as one of the many highlights from that period in that venue.I can still picture Leslie, a giant of a man, with a Les Paul Jnr. slung low around his knees, wringing out the riffs. Great days. I was ecstatic when they closed with Sunshine of Your Love. It will be great to see Jack Bruce on Saturday. Hope he plays Theme from an Imaginary Western which Mountain also used to play (note afterwrds; Yes he did play it).   Makes me think about Leslie who hasn’t been so well lately. Hope you’re OK big man; you also gave us some great nights in the Tyne Theatre where Jack will be on Saturday. I also looked up support Jimmy Stevens. I can’t pretend to remember his set from that gig almost 40 years ago, but he is an interesting guy, who toured with the Bee Gees, and Emerson, Lake and Palmer and was managed by Robert Stigwood at the time. He still plays in his home town on Liverpool. John remembers West, Bruce and Laing playing Why Dontcha, Pleasure, Love is with the blues, Third Degree, The Doctor, the bass solo Powerhouse Sod, Sunshine of Your Love, Politician, and possibly Mississippi Queen and Theme form an Imaginary Western. He recalls somebody, Leslie or Jack, wearing Red Platform sole boots and going out to buy some the following week! Thanks to John for the poster scan.

Jack Bruce Newcastle Tyne Theatre & Opera House 2001

Jack Bruce Newcastle Tyne Theatre 2001
Jack Bruce is touring at the moment and calls into Newcastle next Saturday. I’m looking forward to the gig, and will spend a few days this week reflecting on previous Jack Bruce concerts which I have attended. Jack was last in Newcastle over 10 years ago, in 2001, when he played at the same venue. I went along to that gig with my mate Will. Jack Bruce was touring with his band The Cuicoland Expresss to promote his new album Shadows in the Air. The set was a mix of songs from the new album, which were quite jazzy, with lots of latin rhythms. He played quite a few favourites from his back catalogue including Sunshine of your Love (which he rerecorded with Clapton for the album), Politician, White Roon, We’re Going Wrong, and Theme from an Imaginary Western. It was a great gig, and I expect new Saturday’s gig will be too. Jack is under-rated in my view. When people think of that great band Cream, they will think of Clapton first, but many of their best songs were written and sung by Jack. I’ve got a couple more Jack Bruce concerts to recall this week, including West, Bruce and Laing, his band with Mick Taylor and Carla Bley and the Cream reunion at the Albert Hall.