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Baker's Dozen

Air Force 13: Ginger Baker's Favourite Albums
David Stubbs , November 26th, 2012 07:26

Ginger Baker's Jazz Confusion are playing London's Jazz Cafe this week and are one of the first acts to be announced for next year's Field Day; in advance, the legendary drummer picks out his top 13 LPs

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Ginger Baker is best known as the drummer of Cream, featuring Eric Clapton, the trio whose voluminous, blues-based rock preceded both The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Led Zeppelin and countless heavy rock outfits. However, Baker himself is always at pains to describe himself at a jazz drummer and dislikes intensely the amplification of rock, from a performing viewpoint in particular. Despite enduring a turbulent relationship with bassist Jack Bruce, Cream did manage to stay together for three years and even reunited in 2004 for a series of major concerts. Unlike practically every other superstar rock group of the era, all of Cream's members are alive and well.

Baker started life with the Storyville Jazz Men and The Hugh Rainey Allstars before joining the Graham Bond Organisation, the British blues boomer outfit where he distinguished himself with his soloing and singular approach to the drum kit. Success with Cream swiftly followed, before he and Clapton formed the short-lived Blind Faith. A lover of African percussion, Baker spent several years in Nigeria in the early 70s, recording with Fela Kuti. His subsequent collaborators ranged from Gary Moore to Public Image Ltd to jazz greats Bill Frisell and Charlie Haden, with whom he formed a trio in the 1990s.

As a player, rather than a rock historian, Baker has tended to be immersed in his own work, hence the unusual emphasis on his own back catalogue – but then, a Baker's Baker's Dozen has licence to be as distinctive as the man himself.

Baker will be playing the Jazz Cafe in London this Wednesday, November 28, with his jazz-fusion group, the Jazz Confusion, accompanied by tenor saxophonist Pee Wee Ellis - for more details and tickets, go to the venue's website here. They will also be playing the Quietus' very own Village Mentality stage at Field Day 2013 - for tickets, head here.

Click on Baker's picture below to begin scrolling through his choices.


Nov 26, 2012 2:59pm

what the hell? Who the hell picks almost exclusively albums they performed on?

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Nov 26, 2012 4:01pm

You know what cartman from South Park says about gingers

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Nov 26, 2012 4:20pm

Brilliant. Did you not explain the concept properly?

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Nov 26, 2012 4:26pm

There's either a huge ego involved or he didn't comprehend the concept. Started ok with some quality jazz but when he pitched in with the Mitch diss I just thought "twat".

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Purves Grundy
Nov 26, 2012 4:30pm

Wow, I bet he's one of those people who clicks 'like' on all their own status updates, then follows them up with a comment saying "lol".

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Nov 26, 2012 4:51pm

Whenever I'm at festivals or gigs and I see performers I love at the bar, I never go and talk to them. It's because I'm worried they will spoil my enjoyment of their music by being insufferable, arrogant, aloof or rude. 99% of the time I'm sure they would't let me down (my mate did go and talk to Dave Pajo and said he was lovely, ditto Doseone), but I'd rather not take the chance. They might end up coming across like Ginger Baker.

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Nov 26, 2012 5:17pm

Oddly, he has left off "album" by PIL

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John Doran
Nov 26, 2012 6:27pm

We had a polite request from one of his people saying can he talk about some albums he's played on himself as he doesn't really listen to music. So yeah, he understood the concept and we said, 'It's Ginger Baker, he can pick the Fela Kuti live album or Air Force at the Royal Albert Hall 13 times over if he likes.'

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John Doran
Nov 26, 2012 6:28pm

In reply to John Doran:

Just to recap: It's GINGER FUCKING BAKER.

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John Doran
Nov 26, 2012 6:28pm

And just in case you missed that: It's motherfucking Ginger Fucking Baker!

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Chris. Moughton
Nov 26, 2012 6:46pm

In reply to Nick:

Thank you, John Doran. The whole article works really well and what Ginger has to say is very interesting. I did go up and speak to him at a gig recently - he`s a gentleman.

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Polioso Quatick
Nov 27, 2012 5:07am

I like how Ginge makes it sound like it's that silly "chick" who was at fault for Hendrix's death and not the drunken schmuck himself.

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Jim'll Mix It
Nov 27, 2012 9:33am

Sorry John, it doesn't matter who you are, if you go on such a massive ego trip and show that level of self-indulgence, you're a twat, simple.

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Nov 27, 2012 12:57pm

The Quintet! That's a great album. The interesting thing about it is that Charlie Parker's name doesn't appear anywhere on it – he's credited as Charlie Chan because his contract didn't allow him to record for another label.

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Nov 27, 2012 12:59pm

On second thoughts, maybe it's not that interesting.

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Nov 27, 2012 1:05pm

In reply to Polioso Quatick:

I agree. Blaming someone other than Jimi for Jimi's death isn't helpful, nor is helpful to use the term "chick". it either gives the wrong impression, or the right and a bad impression about his attitude towards women.

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Nov 27, 2012 5:23pm

At this point in his career, Mr Baker can list whatever the hell he wishes. Would have liked to know his thoughts on PIL. Always enjoyed 'Going Back Home' and when I played it last night, it still sounds great. Odd comment re: Deleaney and Bonnie. Weren't those alive at the time contractually bound to praise them forever?

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Paul Hannigan
Nov 28, 2012 5:45am

Baker's Dozen. Nominative determinism.

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Nov 28, 2012 2:42pm

pint of bothered please landlord.

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John Doran
Nov 28, 2012 2:51pm

In reply to Grimy:

"A pint of bothered please, landlord" *gets out notebook*

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Mr M
Nov 29, 2012 3:19am

My God what a wanker.

"I decided to choose jazz...and me".

Coincidentally I watched Classic Albums on Disraeli Gears tonight which literally (no literally) sent me to sleep. By the way, the Blind Faith cover? So much dodgy art from this generation. Jimmy Saville would have loved it.

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Dec 12, 2012 12:03am

I know nothing about Ginger Baker, but I read Baker's Dozen with interest all the same.
have the critics here done the same? it seems to me they did not, but reacted purely in an ideological fashion. and will you please cut one of the dying breed some slack, will you - if he sounds like a macho-alfa guy, you needn't think further than your dad. that generation talked and did things that way.
and what would you call a woman who is disgusted to see her man being in physical pain? I think she rightfully earned her being called a "chick".

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Giacomo Bruzzo
Dec 13, 2012 5:53pm

Ah your are all merciless.

I agree with John Doran It's Ginger F***ing Baker!

Would have loved to hear him talk about some of the more oblique releases of his - Shadow Run with Hideo Yamaki or Horses and Trees with Laswell -

ps: Do go and see "Beware of Mr Baker"

He says it all there: "I don’t want those fucking people in my film!" (let alone his music choices)

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