10-15-2013 07:33 AM
I saw Ginger Baker last night and all I can say is WOW!!!!! He played at a very small club in Chicago and I could not have asked for a better evening. He was playing with his four piece jazz band, Ginger Baker Jazz Confusion. The band consisted of him; on a beautiful DW kit with two different size kicks, a 20” and a 22”; Pee Wee Ellis, sax; Alec Dankworth; who played an upright and an electric bass; and a phenomenal hand percussionist from Ghana by the name of Abass Dodoo.
Before the show started the hand drummer came out and said that Mr Baker was not feeling well but he would do his best for us. Ginger Baker then came out and he looked extremely feeble. I thought to myself that it was going to either be a long night with a 74 year old man stumbling through the evening, or a short night with him saying that I’m sorry but I’m too ill to play. The band started their first tune and Ginger seemed solid until he did his first fill. He miss-hit two of his toms and I thought “yep it’s not going to be good”. Boy was I wrong. Those were the only problems he had all night. It was as if he turned on a switch and became a different person. I was lucky to have a real good table at the club, and I was about 25 feet from the stage. I could not believe the hi-hat work. The intricacies of his footwork on that high-hat were not to be believed. That high-hat was the time keeper for the band the entire night. It was an evening of African Jazz. I didn’t know what to expect and I couldn’t believe all of the different poly-rhythms that were being played. Ginger and Abass was a solid machine. I am not a jazz guy but I have to say that this African Jazz is something that I really like.
Ginger Baker looked very comfortable behind the kit. A few times he would put his left stick down in order to grab a big towel to blow his nose. While he is doing this, his other three limbs never skipped a beat. The man has amazing four limb independence.
He played around 45 minutes, and then took a break. He did look a little wobbly leaving the stage. After that break; that took 15 minutes or so; he came out and did another 20 minutes.
Besides being impressed by his playing; along with the unbelievable playing of his hand percussionist; I was blown away by the sound of his drums and cymbals. The resonance of his kicks and toms was stellar. His cymbals were sonically beautiful. I was most impressed by a 16” K dark thin crash and an 18” china that he was using. There were two other drummers at my table. They were both young guys; one in his mid 20’s and the other in his early 30’s. Both of them also said that those two cymbals had outstanding sound.
If Mr. Baker ever gets out to your neck of the woods, buy a ticket, you won’t be disappointed.
10-15-2013 09:00 AM
Wow! I thought Ginger was retired and living a bit of a recluse lifestyle... awesome to hear that he's out on tour and playing! The man is so gifted.
10-15-2013 06:29 PM
10-16-2013 04:50 AM
10-17-2013 03:08 PM
Very cool. Thanks for sharing.
HarmonyCentral.com is the leading Internet resource for musicians, supplying valuable information from news and product reviews, to classified ads and chat rooms.