Ginger Baker is not only one of the greatest drummers ever but also a character who waits for a movie to be made about him. One day maybe a fiction movie will be made, until them we have ‘Beware of Mr. Baker’ – the documentary made by Jay Bulger. Rock documentaries are now quite ‘en vogue’ and there is a good reason for this. The big rock stars of the 60s and 70s, well, the ones who survived are now at the age of writing or telling on screen their memories. The younger generations may have heard little about ‘Cream’ or ‘Blind Faith’ but they do have an opportunity not only to watch part of their concerts (luckily filmed concerts technology developed just in time to catch much of their sounds, moves and the atmosphere of their live shows) but also to hear fist hand their version of the history of rock. And fans like me are definitely delighted.





‘Beware of Mr. Baker’ is centered around the interview reluctantly given by Baker at his ranch in South-Africa. He is one of those anti-social partners of discussion that you sometimes pity the interviewers about. He certainly loves to complain about his family, other musicians, life and fate in general – one of these guys who seem to love themselves much less than the world lives and admires them. We learn much more about his life from interviews with members of his family (his first wife seems still to have a crush on him, his son’s best memory is having made music with his father) and with other musicians. It’s the story of a life  damaged by drugs abuse and a pattern of behavior that preempted Baker from establishing good working relations with any of his colleague musicians and eventually led to the early breaking of all bands he played in. Yet, it is also doubtful if in the absence of this temper and even of the use of drugs his music would have been the same. And music is what is left at the end from such personalities. Great music in the case of Mr. Baker.


(video source Beat Club)


Cream - the gathering of Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker was a stellar event. In my view it simply gave another dimension to rock, developing progressive rock and setting the stage for hard rock and metal (in the documentary Ginger Baker strongly disagrees, of course). It is hard to believe that they played together for only two years (1966-1968). It is said that when Hendrix came to London the only musicians he asked to play with were Cream, I do not know if this ever happened.


(video source Tony Palmer Films)


However, the disagreements between Baker and Bruce were so violent that they led to the end of Cream, fortunately not before a farewell concert at Albert Hall.


(video source Catarina Troiano)


Next step was for Baker and Clapton Blind Faith where they joined forces with Steve Winwood and Rick Grech. This super-group did not last more than two years either, but they also left one concert of legend in Hyde Park.


(video source Frank Westwood)


His own group Air Force formed in 1970 did not last more than one year. A great solo in this recording – one of Ginger’s many great solos.


(video source zoocat)


Ginger Baker spent the next six years (until 1976) in Africa. Here is is 1971 jamming with Nigerian afro-jazz musicians in Lagos, Nigeria.


(video source Delicious Vinyl)


At the beginning of the 90s Baker played with Masters of Reality.


(video source Luiz Claudio Ferro)


Baker and Bruce were back on stage together in 1993 with Gary Moore in BBM


(video source alexsh)


The Ginger Baker Trio was also short-lived (1994-1995) but we are left with this recording of a concert in Germany.


(video source MegaGuitarGods)


2005 was the year of the Cream reunion on the stage at Royal Albert Hall.


(video source Michael Hirsch)


Is the trip over? Not yet! After being filmed and interviewed for the documentary Ginger Baker was on stage in 2013 with Ginger Baker Jazz Confusion, a quartet comprising Baker, saxophonist Pee Wee Ellis, bassist Alec Dankworth and percussionist Abass Dodoo.

We may still hear from the giant of the drummers.


(video source whatiship73)

It was my birth today and I am 58 now. I cannot however forget another June 27, 41 years ago. In 1970 in Bucharest, Romania, Blood, Sweat & Tears were on a ‘good will’ tour during the short period of relative freedom during the Communist rule. The concert took place in a skating ring arena which was not used during the summer, and we hear many of the hits of the band that were familiar to us from Cornel Chiriac‘s Metronon broadcasts at Radio Free Europe – Spinning Wheel, And When I Die, Sometimes in Winter. At the end of the concert after a few encores the band left, but we, part of the young folks in the audience stayed shouting ‘we want more’ and then ‘USA’. The police entered with police dogs and dragged us out. That was my first taste of police brutality and repression under Communist dictatorship, a great lesson on my 17th birthday, a lesson that I never forgot.

(video source whatiship73)

I do not remember exactly the moment, but it’s very probable that I learned about Jimi Hendrix’s death exactly 40 years ago from Cornel Chiriac’s Metronom broadcasts at Radio Free Europe.

(video source vwontheautobahn)

Hendrix was an exceptionally gifted musician and an icon of his generation. He was born in 1942, the same or around the same year the members of the Beatles were born, and his death happened the year the Beatles broke-up. In less than one decade Hendrix, the Beatles, Bob Dylan and a few other musicians changed forever the sound of the rock music and the face of the Western culture. From marginal entertainment rock became the core of the culture of the new generations and of their way of life.

(video source criak22)

Same as the career of the Beatles, Hendrix’s path and first recognition happened in Europe. It was followed by appearances that are by now legendary at the festivals in Monterrey in 1967, Woodstock in 1969 and Isle of Wight in 1970.

(video source JethroTull4you)

Hendrix, as all of the great musicians of his generation found roots and inspiration in the classical American guitar blues music, but transformed and took it ahead to expressing the feelings of a whole generation, turned it in an universal sound that transcends borders and not only stays actual, but gains value as the time passes.

(video source dragonchaser07)

He was a fantastic  instrumentalist, an innovator in guitar technique, an inventor of new sounds and an opener of paths that were took over by other genres that were to be discovered and get names only later. His career was cut short by the untimely death but luckily recordings and filmed sequences from concerts, TV shows and festivals remain available, bear witness and inspire musicians that came after him. I brought here a few that I found available on youTube and I hope that you will enjoy them.

Pe 4 martie se implines 35 de ani de cand Cornel Chiriac a fost asasinat la Munchen. Pentru generatia mea si generatiile apropriate Cornel a fost una dintre figurile formative si un simbol.


Dupa ce a incercat sa promoveze in Romania muzica rock si jazz cu emisiuni la radio si televiziune, cu activitati in cluburi si festivale studentesti Cornel a ales in 1969 calea libertatii. Scurta vreme dupa aceea vocea sa familiara a putut fi auzita pe calea undelor la Radio Europa Libera.

(video from impy4ever)

In emisiunile sale ‘Metronom’ si ‘Jazz a la Carte’ Cornel Chiriac a prezentat tot peisajul larg si variat al muzicii rock si jazz al acelei perioade. Spirit enciclopedic inzestrat cu o extraordinara cultura muzicala a deschis gustul pentru muzica buna si a educat generatii intregi de artisti si de iubitori de muzica. Se poate spune ca peisajul rockului romanesc ar fi fost altul daca Cornel Chriac si emisiunile sale nu ar fi existat in acei ani.


Cornel insa a reprezentat pentru noi mai mult decat muzica. A fost o fereastra deschisa spre cultura generatiei noastre in lume de care eram izolati de cenzura regimului comunist. A fost un exemplu de gandire libera si un indemn de a refuza rutina, de a cauta sa intelegem tot ce este nou, de a accepta lumea in toata varietatea si frumusetea sa. Atragand tinerii acelor vremuri la Europa Libera, Cornel Chiriac a dus la cresterea semnificativa a popularitatii acestui post de radio, alternativa de informatie si de comentarii politice si opinii necenzurate fara echivalent pentru Romania acelor vremuri.

In fiecare an la 4 martie o parte dintre admiratorii lui Cornel se aduna la cimitirul din Bucuresti unde a fost adusa cenusa sa pentru odihna vesnica. Sunt si eu cu gandul alaturi de ei si cinstesc memoria celui care a fost pentru mine si pentru multi dascal in ale muzicii si ale libertatii. Fie-i memoria binecuvantata.

Bela Kamocsa died last week. He was the founder of the Romanian rock band ‘Phoenix’ in the 60s, at a time when doing rock meant in Romania not only music but also a political stand. The band played an important role in the history of Romania rock.

youTube keeps some of his recordings.

‘Canarul’ from 1969 with Phoenix:

‘Lady Madonna’:

‘Totusi sunt ca voi’

with Bega Blues Band at the Sibiu jazz festival in 2002:

jam sessions with Mircea Bunea in 2008:

and the recording of a TV interview with Daniel Vighi with scores of interesting information about the musical history of Timisoara.

May his memory be blessed.