Scottish rock legend Jack Bruce has died, aged 71. The Cream musician was hailed as one of the greatest bassists of his time. The Bruce family have invited fans to leave messages in memory of Jack on their online In Memoriam Guestbook and have been flooded with tributes.
Born in Glasgow in 1943, his parents travelled extensively in the USA and Canada while he grew up, attending 14 different schools and then ended up back in Glasgow. He won a scholarship for cello and composition at the Royal Scottish Academy of music, but left aged 16 due to financial trouble and a difference of opinions between Bruce and his professors.
He travelled extensively and joined a number of bands. At one point he is said to have down an offer by Marvin Gaye to join his U.S. based band due to Bruce’s upcoming marriage. He then went on to meet Eric Clapton and form the legendary band together with Ginger Baker. This band of course was Cream and they went on to sell 35 million albums in just over 2 years and was awarded the first ever platinum dic for ‘Wheels of Fire’. Cream split in November 1968 at the height of their popularity, with Bruce feeling he had moved too far away from his ideals.
Clapton paid tribute to Bruce’s life, posting a brief note on Facebook; “He was a great musician and composer, and a tremendous inspiration to me.” Clapton also posted a brief acoustic instrumental track in honor of Bruce, simply titled ‘For Jack’:
He went on to record solo albums, including the ‘Songs for A Tailor’ and realised his dream of playing not just rock, but in jazz and classical formats too. During an American tour of the first of Jack’s own bands which included Jimi Hendrix’s drummer, Mitch Mitchell, he was introduced to Tony Williams and he went on to join Tony’s Lifetime, which Bruce described as “the musical time of my life”.
Fronting many other bands and going solo, he also went on to work with artists such as Lou Reed, and Frank Zappa. In the 1990’s Bruce performed with a Viennese Symphony Orchestra in Austria, and later with friends, Bob Dylan, Keith Richards and Steve Cropper, and in 1993, he was included in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for his time with Cream.
In 2005, Jack reunited with former bandmates, Eric Clapton and Ginger Baker for Cream’s first concert tour in 37 years. Then, in 2006 he accepted a special Recording Academy Lifetime Achievement Award on behalf of Cream and went on to be awarded more accolades, including the degree of Doctor of Letters from Glasgow Caledonian University and Doctor of Music from The Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama.
Bruce’s death was announced on his official website, and confirmed by his publicist Claire Singers.
She said: “He died today at his home in Suffolk surrounded by his family.”
A statement from his family said: “It is with great sadness that we, Jack’s family, announce the passing of our beloved Jack: husband, father and granddad and all-round legend.
“The world of music will be a poorer place without him, but he lives on in his music and forever in our hearts.”
The Jack Bruce website
Jack Bruce Composing Himself