Belfast Telegraph

Friday 30 January 2015

Master class from great survivor Ginger Baker

Rocker Ginger Baker
Rocker Ginger Baker

Drummers are music's awkward squad, like Shakespeare's lunatics, lovers and poets "of imagination all compact".

None more so than Ginger Baker. As a recent documentary demonstrated, his verbal percussion pounds with the same intensity as one of his drum solos. Yet he is one of rock's great survivors.

Frail he may be, but the expertise remains. Opener Footprints was a gentle way in, low on pyrotechnics but full of rhythm and the odd hearty thump, especially in tandem with the impressive Abass Dodoo from Ghana.

It was a reminder of Baker's links with African music and he repeated the same trick with greater power in Ginger Spice.

When asked if he was getting into jazz, John Lennon once allegedly replied: "I've been trying to avoid it all my life." Make no mistake, this was a jazz concert through and through, the touchstones for this great 60s legend being Thelonious Monk rather than Chuck Berry.

This meant that there was the jazz band's tendency to fiddle while a tune burns. But when Baker began to let rip in the second half of the show, this frail man delivered something of a percussion master class.

Three stars

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Aquarius:

A cherished dream is elusive. It will be best to change gear, at least for the immediate future. Pursue a moneymaking opportunity with creative appeal. Getting paid to exercise your imagination will lift your spirits. By the time you finish this assignment, you may be in better condition to pursue your primary goal. A brilliant idea for operating on a shoestring budget will come. At that point, nothing will stand between you and success. Stay calm and take things one step at a time.More