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JACK BRUCE

Jazz Rock/Fusion • United Kingdom


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Jack Bruce biography
JOHN JACK BRUCE inevitably heads up many a Rebus* list of famous Scottish rock musicians. Whilst best known for Cream in the late 60's and continuing to play and record music with a distinct blue-rock, JACK BRUCE has ranged extensively into other areas where his fusion of rock, blues, jazz, world musics has resulted in various new forms of rock music that are avant garde, unique, challenging and most certainly progressive. He is very well known as a composer, bassist and powerful (operatic-like) vocalist as well as a harmonica player, pianist and celloist. He has been hailed as one of the greatest and most skilled electric bassists of all time, his improvisational skill and his individual approach to composition and performance affected both rock and jazz musics. Picking up the bass guitar only a few years after it was commercially available in the UK, with probably only Jet Harris as a predecessor, his pioneering, full-tone playing introduced a sophisticated and innovative approach to the way the instrument is used and influenced the playing of numerous bassists, including Jack Casady, Andy Fraser, Mark King, Sting, Geddy Lee, Jeff Berlin and indeed Jaco Pastorius.

(*Fictional, Edinburgh-based, rock-fan detective created by author Ian Rankin).

JACK BRUCE was born on May 14, 1943 in Bishopbriggs, East Dunbartonshire, Scotland. Continual upheaval of home-life meant his education was spread over 14 different schools during his childhood. JACK BRUCE took up the jazz double bass in his teens, winning a scholarship to study cello and composition at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. To support his studies BRUCE played in local dance bands to the eventual disapproval of the RSAMD: hence an ultimatum either stop or leave college: JACK BRUCE terminated his academic studies and headed south.

According to the 2005 documentary 'Jazz Britannia' (BBC 4), jazz rock developed in the UK in the early 60's because young musicians were often being banned from playing a jazz club's acoustic instruments and so being forced to bring their own portable gear - sooner or later electric instruments were to be the main tools of their trade. This was the environment JACK BRUCE found himself in London. In 1962, playing double bass he became a member of the jazz-blues outfit, the legendary Blues Incorporated, led by Cyril Davis and Alexis Korner. The Blues Incorporated also included saxophonist-turned-organist Graham Bond, saxophonist Dick Heckstall-Smi...
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Buy JACK BRUCE Music


Silver RailsSilver Rails
Esoteric 2014
Audio CD$11.87
$15.99 (used)
Songs for a TailorSongs for a Tailor
Extra tracks · Import · Remastered
Universal I.S. 2003
Audio CD$5.25
$8.54 (used)
Things We LikeThings We Like
Import · Remastered
Universal I.S. 2003
Audio CD$5.25
$4.06 (used)
Live 75Live 75
Import
Esoteric 2011
Audio CD$13.76
$20.73 (used)
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JACK BRUCE shows & tickets


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JACK BRUCE discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

JACK BRUCE top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.52 | 23 ratings
Songs for a Tailor
1969
2.82 | 17 ratings
Things We Like
1970
3.52 | 17 ratings
Harmony Row
1971
3.89 | 8 ratings
Out Of The Storm
1974
3.04 | 4 ratings
How's Tricks
1976
2.00 | 1 ratings
I've Always Wanted to Do This
1980
2.00 | 1 ratings
Automatic
1983
3.20 | 6 ratings
A Question Of Time
1989
3.11 | 9 ratings
Somethin Els
1993
4.00 | 1 ratings
Monkjack
1995
3.73 | 7 ratings
Shadows in the Air
2001
3.67 | 3 ratings
Jet Set Jewel
2003
4.00 | 7 ratings
More Jack Than God
2003
3.63 | 8 ratings
Seven Moons ( with Robin Trower)
2008
5.00 | 1 ratings
Silver Rails
2014

JACK BRUCE Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.95 | 3 ratings
Live '75
1975
3.96 | 5 ratings
Cities Of The Heart
1994
0.00 | 0 ratings
BBC Live in Concert
1995
0.00 | 0 ratings
Live on the Old Grey Whistle Test
1998
4.00 | 1 ratings
Concert Classics Volume 9
1998
0.00 | 0 ratings
HR Big Band Featuring Jack Bruce
2007
4.00 | 4 ratings
Spirit. Live at BBC 1971-1978
2008
5.00 | 1 ratings
Seven Moons Live (with Robin Trower)
2009

JACK BRUCE Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

JACK BRUCE Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings
Jack Bruce
1980
3.00 | 1 ratings
Willpower
1989
2.00 | 1 ratings
No Stopping Anytime (with Robin Trower)
1989
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Jack Bruce Collector's Edition
1996
0.00 | 0 ratings
Sitting On Top of the World
1997
4.00 | 1 ratings
Doing This . . . On Ice!
2001
4.00 | 1 ratings
Rope Ladder to the Moon
2003
5.00 | 3 ratings
Can You Follow?
2008

JACK BRUCE Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

JACK BRUCE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Harmony Row by BRUCE, JACK album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.52 | 17 ratings

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Harmony Row
Jack Bruce Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

3 stars Third album from JB, but this time, he drops the Colosseum connection to snatch some Nucleus (Ian Carr's band) members, just at the time where the band's original line-up was imploding. To say the least, despite both having played on JB's Tailor album, John Marshall and Chris Spedding are relatively odd choices, given the album's shorter song format. I've always failed to see the link of the album's relatively positive title and its dreary artwork, and to be honest, the album's all-too-wordy nature (it seems that Pete Brown was never this loquacious) always discouraged me of investigating further. As usual, JB sings, plays keys and bass.

A few songs have a hard time hiding their inspiration (or is it that they inspired someone else's?) and sometimes, JB evens sounds a tad Cat Stevens-ish in Folk Song; while some songwriting is definitely kistchy and disputable: Royal Wood and the closing almost-stinky Spanish-crooner Consul At Sunset. And it's in the simpler more RnR songs that JB's often-too busy bass playing is mostly evident, as Letter Of Thanks proves. Among the album's highlights is the impressive and adventurous Morning Story, and while the vocals of Smiles And Grins might just be a little rough/harsh, the playing is brilliant.

Harmony Row has always been an album I've felt uncomfortable with, partly because it isn't all that accessible, too much all over the map, and even noisy in parts. To be honest, if it wasn't for the album's two longer songs, I'd give it a much smaller rating.

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 Things We Like by BRUCE, JACK album cover Studio Album, 1970
2.82 | 17 ratings

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Things We Like
Jack Bruce Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

2 stars Under that typical jazzy album title, you'll the ex-Cream bassist Jack Bruce's second solo album. If you think that JB and jazz don't really mix, you're in a for a bit of a surprise, as Jack first came to prominence with Graham Bond's ORGANization, and JB and GB (Ginger) used to joke the Cream was a jazz band, and that they never told Clapton so. More than the Cream connection, here, we're getting the Colosseum (Heckstall-Smith and Hiseman replaced JB and GB in Bond's band) and we're heavily in a standard jazz affair ? which might be very strange, since JB was also involved with McL in Tony Williams' Lifetime, which was much more "fusiony". Actually, TWL was recorded prior to JB's first official solo album, but the present is indeed his first try (recorded in Aug 68)? but only found release almost two years afterwards.

So, the quartet's line-up might have hinted you as an all-star JR/F group, but we're quite distant from that realm. Six of the seven tracks are Bruce composition (he plays only stand-up bass on TWL), and the lone medley Sam Enchanted Dick (sic?) is more or less in the same sonic template of the rest of the album. Indeed, we're dealing with a fairly competent late-50's or early-60's boppy jazz that will raise your eyebrows, mostly because that's about the last thing you'd expect from these dudes. Were they out to prove something to the old-guard of jazzers? Maybe so, but personally, I find that, outside McL and to a lesser extent DHS, this is the kind of stuff that lacks a certain credibility from the "rock-related" crowds. Don't expect much of McL's fiery guitar histrionics (he does get the odd spot here and there, but nothing of the sort of Devotion or Mahavishnu), because he's relatively low-key. DHS' gets more sunshine, but it's clearly JB's show ? and to that same extent, drummer Hiseman gets to pull his wild cards out on the table. You'll find the odd inspiration in JB's jazz writing. The more modern-sounding track of the album? HCKHH Blues, without a doubt.

So, if not familiar with TWL, I'd strongly suggest that you lend an earshot (not even very attentive) before investing in the album, because the line-up (written out on the front cover) can (and will) induce into error. Is it a good standard jazz album?? Maybe so, but given the déjà-entendu sonics (save McL's electric interventions), it certainly sounds like a waste of talent at the time? I'd have loved to hear these guys let it all hang out in the wild JF/F affair.

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 Songs for a Tailor by BRUCE, JACK album cover Studio Album, 1969
3.52 | 23 ratings

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Songs for a Tailor
Jack Bruce Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

3 stars 3.5 stars really!!

Fresh out of Cream, JAcj Bruce went out shopping for heavy friends to make his debut solo album, and one can only be impressed by who he managed to lure back in the studio. Outside Harry Georgesson (only present on the opening track, but remember Goodbye's Badge song?), we also find Swinging London jazz-scene stalwarts jazzers Harry Beckett and Henry Lowther (both on trumpet) and Art Themen (sax). From another side of JB's alumni, Colosseum dudes DHS (sax) and Hiseman (who had replaced Jack and Ginger in Graham Bond's ORGANization), and Chris Spedding (most likely via lyricist Pete Brown's Ornaments), future Nucleus drummer John Marshall (then with Graham Collier) and finally Papparlardi (the Mountain man and Cream producer). Heavy friends, uh?? Gladly the really heavy dude Leslie West was out of reach ;o))). As for the megalomaniac JB, he sings, basses, pianoes, organs and even cellos on one track.

SFAT is actually JB's second album, since TWL was recorded in 68, but only released two years later (after the present), and this "debut" album is filled with songs intended for Cream but unused, due to that band's early demise. And in some ways, despite some sometimes drastically different arrangements, it's clear that some tracks could've been featured on any of the last three Cream releases, but it's hardly a rule of thumb. Take away the brass from the opener Never Tell, and you've got an almost-classic Cream tune. Other Cream-related tunes are Weird Of Hermiston, Boston Ball and Clearout, all three written during the Cream-lifetime, but neither are particularly strong (IMHO), but two of them features the heavy brass section.

You'll also find two of JB/PB tunes that have been most inspirational to loads f musicians (including Colosseum, who used both tracks in their live shows) like Imaginary Western and Rope Ladder, both could've been Cream numbers, but here dramatically changed, the latter featuring Jack's cello talents. Ministry Of Bag and Richmond are average, but don't feel like fillers. Isengard's intro is the album's most acoustic moment and it also features Felix on vocals alongside JB, but halfway in JB's bass comes unleashed and Spedding's guitar follows

The album's title was a dedication to Jeannie Franklin, a hip LA tailor that made clothes for cream and that died in the Fairport Convention van accident that also killed drummer Lamble. SFAT is JB's most emblematic solo album, but don't expect loads of Cream histrionics or even TW's Lifetime delirium. This is a bunch of fairly-short songs (max 3:30, except for the lengthier Isengard), but little space for major solos. The album is relatively uneven (read too diverse to be really cohesive), but has no real weakness either, and is certainly an important release for its time, and has managed to remain in the publics' subconscious ever since.

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 Seven Moons Live (with Robin Trower) by BRUCE, JACK album cover Live, 2009
5.00 | 1 ratings

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Seven Moons Live (with Robin Trower)
Jack Bruce Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by BORA

— First review of this album —
5 stars Never too soon!

I am really pleased that JB has finally made it to PA. He is a deserving artist whose work spans many genres. An elder statesman of the music scene, he's left his mark in many categories, be that Rock, Jazz, or Blues. He has previously collaborated with Robin Trower, another veteran of the Rock scene, on the BLT (Bruce, Lorber, Trower) projects.

"Seven Moons" finds Bruce and Trower together again delivering mature compositions with the assistance of the excellent Gary Husband (one time PA member, too!) on the skins. All of them are seasoned musicians with a combined wealth of talent and experience and the end result speaks for itself.

Trower is a fine musician who comes from the "Hendrix school". He is one of the few whose well crafted guitar licks often evoke memories of Hendrix. It's fair to say that he is reluctant to stretch out, preferring shorter tunes filled with impeccable, albeit brief solos.

Having said that, the three "old warhorses" perfectly complement each other here, providing a fine balance. The material is largely based on the studio album, but naturally, the live performance includes some old favourites, too. Excellent work and both live and studio versions of "Seven Moons" are highly recommended. It's pleasing to see that many decades on it's still possible to compose material that sounds fresh and new.

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 Harmony Row by BRUCE, JACK album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.52 | 17 ratings

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Harmony Row
Jack Bruce Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Jack Bruce was of course part of the legendary power trio CREAM that thrilled audiences in the latter half of the sixties. This is Jack's third solo album released in 1971. What actually drew me to this one was the lineup. A trio including John Marshall (NUCLEUS, SOFT MACHINE) on drums and Chris Spedding (NUCLEUS) on guitar. Jack is an impressive bass player and he can sing too. The music here is of the fairly straight forward singer songwriter style with piano and vocals dominating. A disappointment for sure as I was anticipating that the focus would be on the instrumental work, but it's not. This is almost Folky at times and the Jazz / Fusion roots of Spedding and Marshall are no where to be found.

"Can You Follow" is mellow with piano and vocals. "Escape To The Royal Wood (On Ice)" is a top three for me. Piano and drums early as the vocals join in. An uptempo tune that reminds me of the STRAWBS. I like the bass and vocal melodies 2 1/2 minutes in. "You Burned The Tables On Me" is uptempo with the vocals and piano standing out. "There's A Forest" is laid back with piano and vocals. "Morning Story" is another top three. Just a great sound here then it settles back as the vocals and piano stand out. "Folk Song" is mellow with reserved vocals.

"Smiles And Grins" is finally a song where there's some focus on the instrumental work. Well that is until around 1 1/2 minutes in when the vocals arrive. Nice bass and drum work before 3 1/2 minutes when the vocals stop for a short time. "Post War" is my final top three. A bright tune with good lyrics and the guitar is interesting too here. "A Letter Of Thanks" is different as the vocals are almost theatrical. "Victoria Sage" opens with vocals and piano then it picks up with organ and a beat a minute in. The vocals and piano continue. "The Consul At Sunset" has a Spanish vibe to it and i'm not a fan.

Well some good songs here for sure but for the Prog fan i'm sure you'll be left wanting.

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 Live '75 by BRUCE, JACK album cover Live, 1975
3.95 | 3 ratings

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Live '75
Jack Bruce Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by stefro
Prog Reviewer

4 stars A very welcome surprise indeed, this belated reissue documenting the The Jack Bruce Band's 1975 British tour adds another excellent chapter to the ex-Cream bassist's already impressive discography. Recorded at the Manchester Free Trade Hall in England and featuring a line-up comprised of Bruce(bass, vocals), Mick Taylor(guitar), Carla Bley(keyboards), Ronnie Leahy(piano) and Gary Bruce(drums), the imaginatively-titled 'Live '75' finds this particular five-piece in fine form, churning out an impressive set featuring mainly Bruce originals and topped off with a fiery, twelve-minute rendition of Cream's signature piece 'Sunshine Of Your Love'. Add an expertly-crafted, twenty-five minute version of 'Waterfalls', a similarly-sized delivery of 'Smiles & Grins' and a seventeen-minute long blending of both Bruce's 'One' and 'You Burned The Tables On Me' and what you have is a truly epic recording that really does leave no stone unturned. Fans of both Bruce's varied solo work, his time with Cream, the three similarly-styled Baker Gurvitz Army albums(featuring Cream cohort Ginger Baker) and classic rock staples such as Chicago, Dave Mason and Humble Pie will surely be in dreamland with this excellent double-live offering that also shows what a prolific period the 1970's was for one of Rock's most iconic bassists. Highly recommended, 'Live '75' could just be one of the reissues of the year.

STEFAN TURNER, STOKE NEWINGTON, 2012

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 Harmony Row by BRUCE, JACK album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.52 | 17 ratings

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Harmony Row
Jack Bruce Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by dreadpirateroberts

4 stars Another wonderful jazz-rock and progressive-pop record from Jack Bruce.

Reducing the backing band from his debut to guitarist Chris Spedding and drummer John Marshall, Jack Bruce continued to play a wide range of instruments himself for his second solo album Harmony Row. If not as commercially successful as his debut, it remains a more satisfying album on many levels.

Tonally Harmony Row occupies similar territory for 'Songs for a Tailor,' with Bruce's piano featuring heavily, usually more prominent than his trademark 'busy' bass. The album weaves a range of moody pieces into a more cohesive collection, aided by the fact that the spangled ferocity of some of Spedding's playing has been eased off. Without a brass section too, the album has a bluer feel, though 'You Burned the Tables on Me' still cooks and there's a tension within 'Morning Story', whereas the blues-rock of 'A Letter of Thanks' gives way to more rock than blues.

This time too, the shorter songs are more thematically consistent with the other pieces. 'Can You Follow' is a beautiful introduction and companion piece to 'Escape to the Royal Wood' for instance. Brown's lyrics are a little more direct, constructing a narrative more often than referencing literature. Only on "Smiles and Grins' (another standout) does an almost disturbing circus feel come to the organ and we see the structure become more fluid than other songs, with a bit of an extended bridge and an instrumental outro. While 'Veronica Sage' misses the mark for me, 'The Consul at Sunset' does not - and showcases Jack Bruce's ability to support a lead vocal with some effective backing. It's languid piano chords are backed by acoustic guitar and percussion, rather than a full kit, and works as a pleasant island getaway.

Once again, this is a four-star album for me, and while it lacks the broader palette that his previous record is drawn from, the consistency of 'Harmony Row' is a real selling point. Overall if you like your pop to have a bit of jazz or to take chances with both structure and genre, then you will enjoy this - it's quite heartfelt at times but conceals a really satisfying approach to songwriting.

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 Songs for a Tailor by BRUCE, JACK album cover Studio Album, 1969
3.52 | 23 ratings

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Songs for a Tailor
Jack Bruce Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by dreadpirateroberts

4 stars Jack Bruce slips out from under the shadow of Cream.

The first thing you'll notice on Songs for a Tailor is the way Bruce's unmistakable voice propels the album's short songs into a familiar place. At the same time, he has collected a set of songs that have a decidedly 'pop' feel to their rock, or even a 'jazz' feel to their pop. And I don't mean for 'pop' to suggest predictable, as these inventive pop songs offer something unusual and are more thoughtfully arranged than some of Cream's jam-based pieces.

Once again, Pete Brown is at the helm lyrically (often to the album's benefit) and although the Cream connections are not limited to that fact, ('The Clearout' and 'Weird of Hermiston' were demoed during Cream recording sessions) the bulk of this album shows Jack determined to move beyond the Cream sound, and succeeding.

It seems he wanted to release something more genre-blurring than either Cream or the album that his jazz combo had just recorded 'Things We Like', and so Songs For a Tailor was slotted in and released first. Perhaps some of that rushed feeling can be seen in the short, almost 'sketch-like' nature of some pieces, like the still-effective vocal layering of 'Boston Ball Game 1937' or the pastoral then scattered 'To Isengard.'

Other songs are more fully developed, such as the opener. Featuring George Harrison on guitar, 'Never Tell Your Mother She's Out of Tune' is backed by a small horn section and is a bit of a rocker, while the beautiful 'Theme from an Imaginary Western' is a classic. Other songs will stick with you too, like 'Tickets to Waterfalls' and the melancholy 'Weird of Hermiston.'

Songs for a Tailor has a strong first side with a more uneven second half, in an album that well deserves the attention of Jack Bruce and Cream fans, along with those interested in the more progressive or jazzy side of pop. This is an album that showcases Jack on many instruments, perhaps the most notable being piano. It's a key component to the record, and in much of the material on his next few albums too.

It's a four star debut for me. It has a charm that shouldn't be overlooked and while it won't suit every prog fan, it should please fans of the the progressive pop sub-genre,or even some jazz fans, and is essential for fans of Bruce.

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 No Stopping Anytime (with Robin Trower) by BRUCE, JACK album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1989
2.00 | 1 ratings

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No Stopping Anytime (with Robin Trower)
Jack Bruce Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Evolver
Special Collaborator Crossover & JazzRock/Fusion Teams

— First review of this album —
2 stars There was a time when Robin Trower was mentioned as an heir to Jimi Hendrix' crown. I've heard a few of his albums, and while he has a similar blues base as Jimi, he just never had the same fire in his playing.

This album is a collection culled from the two albums, "B.L.T." and "Truce", made by Trower and Jack Bruce in the early nineteen eighties. While I like both Trower and Bruce quite a bit on other albums, and their playing here is not bad, the album just doesn't grab me. The songs are essentially blues- rock pieces, and neither artist seems to catch fire at any point. In fact, for an example, Life On Earth sounds drab. Compare it to Bruce's version on his "A Question Of Time" album. That recording is great.

Yeah, there are some good moments. Just not enough of them. 2.5 stars.

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 I've Always Wanted to Do This by BRUCE, JACK album cover Studio Album, 1980
2.00 | 1 ratings

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I've Always Wanted to Do This
Jack Bruce Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Evolver
Special Collaborator Crossover & JazzRock/Fusion Teams

— First review of this album —
2 stars One would think that an album featuring Jack Bruce, David Sancious and Billy Cobham would be amazing. That was certainly what I was hoping for when I bought this LP at the time. Boy, was I mistaken.

The album is mostly weak (by Jack Bruce standards) pop songs, a little bit of light blues, and one (ugh) disco song. For the most part, all of the musicians lay low, preferring to let the compositions do the talking. Unfortunately, the compositions do little but mumble.

The only worthwhile track is Bird Alone, where for the first and third sections of the song, Bruce actually wrote some challenging music.

Since you can find this track on other collections, I would recommend getting it there.

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Thanks to dick heath for the artist addition.

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