Ginger Baker Jazz Confusion play the Festival Marquee, Custom House Square at the Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival, Belfast on Wednesday May 7.
Born in August 1939 in Lewisham, South London, Baker cut his chops in jazz music.
He has always shrugged off his rock persona, despite being a key member of early 70's blues rock pioneers, Cream. When he was a well-established, world-renowned rock drummer, he played a gig with the legendary drummer Elvin Jones, as though to indicate his real musical roots.
He toured extensively with Cream, whose two other members were bassist/vocalist Jack Bruce and guitarist/vocalist Eric Clapton. Subsequently, Baker was the drummer with the more soulful, melody-driven Blind Faith, which also featured Clapton, Rick Grech on bass and Stevie Winwood on keys and vocals.The band made just one, highly-regarded album.
Baker once lived in Africa for a spell, learning styles of drumming. In recent years he returned to South Africa where he lived on a ranch and looked after his beloved horses, as explored in the fascinating documentary, Beware of Mr Baker. There have been many different outfits and collaborations, as Baker insisted on spreading his wings, and making bold experimental forays in music. In recent years, he toured with fellow jazz legends, bass-player Charlie Haden and guitarist Pat Metheny.
Eric Clapton has always described Baker as one of the world's greatest drummers, and regards him as being much more musically inventive and knowledgeable than The Who's Keith Moon and Led Zepellin's John Bonham. Yet both drummers enjoy similar legendary status among many rock fans.