Ginger Baker: Show Preview

Had rock drummer Ginger Baker keeled over dead from a heroin overdose during his late '60s stint with virtuoso power trio Cream, his work with that band alone would have earned him membership into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. An endlessly inventive percussion whirlwind inspired by jazz giants Gene Krupa and Buddy Rich, Baker created a new vocabulary for rock drummers with Cream and subsequent supergroup Blind Faith before heading into new territory with his horn-powered fusion ensemble Air Force and landmark world-music collaborations with Afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti. While he would return to rock during the '80s and '90s with space explorers Hawkwind, John Lydon's Public Image Ltd., and blues-drenched threesome Masters of Reality, Baker's own groups have mostly focused on a mix of African polyrhythms and jazz. On the heels of the acclaimed documentary Beware of Mr. Baker, the notoriously cantankerous drummer brings his new quartet featuring onetime James Brown saxophonist Pee Wee Ellis to Yoshi's Oakland this week.

 
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