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JACK BRUCE

Jazz Rock/Fusion • United Kingdom


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Jack Bruce biography
John Symon Asher Bruce - 14 May 1943 (Glasgow, Scotland) - 25 October 2014

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 Incorpo...
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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)

3.62 | 47 ratings
Songs For A Tailor
1969
3.04 | 33 ratings
Things We Like
1970
3.61 | 33 ratings
Harmony Row
1971
3.21 | 18 ratings
Out Of The Storm
1974
3.21 | 10 ratings
The Jack Bruce Band: How's Tricks
1977
2.09 | 4 ratings
Jack Bruce And Friends: I've Always Wanted To Do This
1980
3.00 | 3 ratings
Automatic
1983
3.29 | 12 ratings
A Question Of Time
1989
3.13 | 14 ratings
Somethin Els
1993
3.96 | 8 ratings
Monkjack
1995
3.12 | 13 ratings
Shadows in the Air
2001
3.83 | 6 ratings
Jet Set Jewel
2003
4.06 | 14 ratings
More Jack Than God
2003
4.00 | 16 ratings
Jack Bruce & Robin Trower: Seven Moons
2008
3.76 | 17 ratings
Silver Rails
2014

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

3.98 | 8 ratings
Live '75
1975
3.96 | 8 ratings
Cities Of The Heart
1994
5.00 | 1 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
3.00 | 1 ratings
HR Big Band Featuring Jack Bruce
2007
4.00 | 6 ratings
Spirit. Live at BBC 1971-1978
2008
5.00 | 2 ratings
Seven Moons Live (with Robin Trower)
2009

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

3.05 | 2 ratings
Golden Days
2011

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

4.00 | 1 ratings
Jack Bruce
1980
3.67 | 3 ratings
Willpower
1989
2.14 | 2 ratings
No Stopping Anytime (with Robin Trower)
1989
3.00 | 1 ratings
The Jack Bruce Collector's Edition
1996
4.00 | 1 ratings
Sitting On Top of the World
1997
4.50 | 2 ratings
Doing This . . . On Ice!
2001
4.50 | 2 ratings
Rope Ladder to the Moon
2003
5.00 | 5 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
 Things We Like by BRUCE, JACK album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.04 | 33 ratings

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Things We Like
Jack Bruce Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by sgtpepper

3 stars This one is first and foremost a jazz effort and certainly not even close to fusion despite some promising names in the line-up. I like faster stuff better, such as the first and last dynamic (title) track. McLaughlin is less recognizable than the saxophone player who is the leader on the record. "Over the cliff" is a very busy galloping short track with a vivid saxophone solo and frenetic acoustic bass. Refreshment comes with McLaughling joining the board on the third track where saxophone takes some break; McLaughlin shows fast playing as well as more restrained chords. Saxophone playing is exquisite.

Acquired taste even for Jack Bruce fans since this is a large departure from straighforward blues rock but a great testimony of Jack Bruce skills.

 Things We Like by BRUCE, JACK album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.04 | 33 ratings

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Things We Like
Jack Bruce Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by mhiraldo

4 stars I have to correct the low rating this excellent album has for potential 'prog' buyers. If you believe prog music can cover a wide range of styles and genres (not just Brit bands from the 70s with mellotrons and mini Moog) and include artists such as Ornette Coleman, Carla Bley or even Satie or Stravinsky under that description then this could be a 'prog' album that you might enjoy. Especially if you like jazz-tinged bands such as early Soft Machine, or early fusion inventors such as Tony Williams' Emergency, or the first excellent album by McLaughlin (Extrapolation) then you WILL certainly enjoy this album. I would not call it a bebop album but a precursor of the fusion wave that was starting to emerge (e.g. Extrapolation, Larry Coryell's early stuff, and of course Tony Williams pioneering jazz-rock invention). If any of these bands are to your liking then you need this album. The band seems to love Ornette Coleman but does not go as far and free as Ornette. Instead, they are entering the new ground that was to be the brit jazz-rock explosion of the late 60s and early 70s.
 Shadows in the Air by BRUCE, JACK album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.12 | 13 ratings

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Shadows in the Air
Jack Bruce Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

2 stars I'd say this album is pretty average in the solo discography of the ex-CREAM vocalist-bassist and songwriter. Among the 15 tracks there are a few revisitations of old songs such as the Cream classics 'Sunshine of Your Love' and 'White Room' (featuring Eric Clapton), but they actually feel rather lame and unnecessary for a listener remembering the powerful originals so well. The 62-minute album, co-produced by Kip Hanrahan who has also co-written several songs with Bruce, surely wouldn't have suffered from some harvesting. Overall this is slightly blues and Latin flavoured rock. No prog in sight, which is the usual case with Bruce anyway. The list of musicians is long, although most of them appear on a limited number of pieces. For example reeds & brass players are colouring only the short and, in my opinion, uninteresting 'Boston Ball Game 1967'. Other songs I don't much care about tend to be the bluesiest ones such as 'The Angel's Liar', which is the other of the two tracks guesting Dr. John on organ.

'52nd Street' -- not to be mistaken for the Billy Joel song of the same name -- is one of several songs featuring congas to give a (relatively mild) Latin flavour. Gosh, this monotonous song is plain boring. But let's deal with the songs I enjoy more. 'Heart Quake' is a fine low-tempo blues ballad with Jack Bruce's piano in the centre and featuring Gary Moore on guitar. As a composition per se 'Directions Home' is very monotonous but it has a lot of feeling, and the combination of the fast hand-clap rhythm pattern and the meditative nature of the song itself is personal. 'Milonga' is a slow, moody, piano-centred song with a gorgeous emotional effect. The short closing track 'Surge' doesn't seem to have anything else than the vocals and drums (there are two drummers playing on this album and both are present on all tracks) but at least that's a nicely unconventional way to end an album.

Well, how to rate a basically well done veteran musician's album with some great tracks and so many mediocre pieces in the overextended length? Which way to round my 2½ stars? Maybe I'll choose two stars only, as opposed to the sole previous review rating of four stars. This is not a bad album, just a little boring in my opinion.

 Golden Days by BRUCE, JACK album cover DVD/Video, 2011
3.05 | 2 ratings

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Golden Days
Jack Bruce Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

3 stars At least right now this is the only Jack Bruce DVD in ProgArchives. This late great artist made a massive solo output after being bassist, singer and the central song-writer of the sixties' power trio CREAM. I have a few of his albums (originally received for reviewing) plus a compilation featuring also some Cream tracks, but frankly I'm quite far from being a dedicated fan or connoisseur. I probably wouldn't have bought this DVD, but I had enough interest for it to borrow it from a library. It falls firmly into the category of "one viewing is enough, thank you". In other words it was a bit boring to watch.

The DVD of approximately three hours' length features two separate concerts from the German "Rockpalast" series, Essen 1980 and Cologne 1990. The first one is a band effort. Jack Bruce sings and plays bass, Clem Clempson's on guitar, David Sancious on keyboards (and on guitar occasionally) and Billy Cobham on drums. I don't know Clempson, but Sancious and Cobham are excellent musicians of the fusion genre. Sadly Bruce's compositions are, from that point of view, of smaller calibre musically. Most notably Sancious offers some glimpses into that direction on this very song-oriented set. There are some Cream classics (such as 'White Room' and 'Sunshine of Your Love'), and of Bruce's solo output it was 'Theme for an Imaginary Western' from his excellent debut album Songs for a Tailor (1969) that most rang the bell for me. As a whole I personally didn't find the 15-piece set so impressive. Some songs were actually quite uninteresting. Visually the concert doesn't offer anything special, the light show is poor and the camera work concentrates on Bruce close-ups more than necessary. But don't take my negative remarks too literally: for a more dedicated Jack Bruce listener this is a pretty good concert.

Ten years later Jack Bruce gave an unaccompanied solo performance in Cologne, playing only piano. This wasn't the first time for me to notice how well his composition skills bend to the keyboards-only approach. If he's not a virtuoso à la Rick Wakeman, at least his piano playing is completely satisfactory in making the songs alive, bursting with emotion. Of course the set itself is also more emotional than the band gig in Essen. Intimate, down-to-earth light and camera work also suit better for this set.

There's a crowded band interview in which also German is spoken without subtexts. That's a pretty lousy extra. Despite the slight cheapie nature - and myself being occasionally a bit bored during the band gig - I regard this DVD worth 3 stars.

 Monkjack by BRUCE, JACK album cover Studio Album, 1995
3.96 | 8 ratings

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Monkjack
Jack Bruce Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

4 stars According to his own memories the album Somethin Els (1993) was JACK BRUCE's return to health. To celebrate his 50th birthday he gave a series of concerts in Cologne, which resulted as the live double album Cities of the Heart. His next studio album was unique in his output as it features only his voice and piano plus Bernie Worrell's Hammond B3 organ. To some listeners this may not sound so appealing, but I think it all works amazingly well. From the prog world for example PETER HAMMILL and ANTHONY PHILLIPS have done similar efforts, and JUKKA GUSTAVSON's Bluesion (1992) comes pretty close too. Among singer-songwriters and jazz vocalists it's perhaps not so unusual to make a "vocals & keyboards only" album. Bruce is a jazz oriented singer-songwriter, so it's not a big surprise that he handles this department so naturally.

Monkjack's strength is definitely in the excellent songs full of depth and emotion. No doubt many of them would sound great with a band setting too, but their characters go perfectly hand in hand with the arrangement. My least fave track is probably the instrumental 'Know One Blues' which isn't bad at all. 'Weird of Hermiston' originates from Bruce's debut Songs For A Tailor (1969) and 'Folk Song' from Harmony Row (1971). The latter is very beautiful, slow and introspective song. Other highlights - I indeed seem to prefer the most emotional ones - include 'David's Harp' and 'Laughing on Music Street'.

Here and there blues flavour comes audible, slightly gospel too. All in all this album doesn't fall into a specific musical genre. It's a very introspective collection of fine songs that are backed by piano and Hammond only. The playing is not trying to be the thing itself, even if the singing leaves pleanty of room for instrumental moments. Recommended!

 Somethin Els by BRUCE, JACK album cover Studio Album, 1993
3.13 | 14 ratings

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Somethin Els
Jack Bruce Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Esoteric Recordings have recently put out several re-releases of JACK BRUCE's albums. This song- writing bassist-vocalist (actually a multi-intrumentalist, playing keyboards and sometimes also cello and drums), and one third of the blues-rock legend CREAM of course, has a huge discography since 1969 and shows no intention to retire yet. For those totally green to Bruce's music I'd like to point out that it hardly can be identified as prog, seldom it's clearly jazz-rock/fusion either, no more than say STEELY DAN is; closer to truth he's a singer-songwriter making intelligent rock with jazz & blues flavour - and he does it well with a voice of his own.

Somethin Els isn't among his best works, but it's a satisfying mainstream album. At the time Bruce had lived in Germany for years, and the album was released via German label CMP Records. I think the music has an American feel. Most songs are co-written with his old collaborator Pete Brown. The list of musicians includes Eric Clapton and Maggie Reilly, who sings duet on atmospheric 'Ships in the Night'. There perhaps aren't any special highlights that one would remember right away, but not very weak songs either. The production is clean, but it avoids the sense of overproduction. Piano and synths are notably present. The bluesiest song 'G.B. Dawn Blues' features Dick Heckstall-Smith on tenor & soprano saxophones. The album closes beautifully with 'FM' for solo piano.

Esoteric's release contains an informative article (as usual - that's a notable reason to appreciate their re-releases), lyrics, and three bonus tracks taken from the album The Snake Music, a collaboration with percussionist Mark Nauseef and guitarist Miroslav Tadic. They are good, especially the slow- tempo Hendrix cover 'Wind Cries Mary'.

 Live '75 by BRUCE, JACK album cover Live, 1975
3.98 | 8 ratings

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Live '75
Jack Bruce Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by HolyMoly
Special Collaborator Retired Admin

4 stars This fascinating 1975 concert was discovered quite by accident whilst Polydor was going through its archives preparing for reissues of Jack Bruce's solo catalog. Although the recording had its share of rough spots, it was salvageable (though there's still some noticeable distortion in the louder parts), and in 2009 was released as a two disc set. It's a testament to the kind of respect Jack Bruce had in the musical community that his "backing band" contains not one but two people who I consider superstars in their own right: Mick Taylor, former Bluesbreaker guitarist and fresh from a stint with a little band called The Rolling Stones, and Carla Bley, author and mastermind behind one of the most incredible albums I've ever heard ("Escalator Over the Hill", 1971, see my review on ProgArchives). And this respect is deserved: in addition to being arguably the primary creative force behind the frighteningly star-studded cast of Cream in the late 60s, and guesting on several prominent jazz/rock efforts by other artists (including Bley's above), he had delivered a number of solo albums that contain some of the most creative and lasting music of its era. Its lack of commercial success could only have been due to its thrillingly eclectic nature, employing the kind of stylistic combinations that would surely make a radio programmer scratch his head in confusion. Whereas Eric Clapton simplified his approach and found success, Jack Bruce went more complex and remained a cult figure.

This live album is the only full concert recording in existence of this band, and that alone makes it worthy for release; luckily, it is also a creditable, solid performance of Jack Bruce the Solo Artist circa '75, with four great-to-amazing solo albums already under his belt. This band lineup plays the material with a jazzy twist, with a much looser beat than was found on the studio albums; I admit this took some getting used to. Jack himself often sings around the melodies as opposed to simply singing them, almost scat singing at times, which I found very frustrating at first, as I dearly love the vocal melodies as originally written. But this performance clearly isn't meant to be a direct reading of the "hits", and once I realized that I was able to swing along with their freewheeling spirit.

On to the songs: "Can You Follow?" begins the show, a short, solo piano/vocal piece that also opened his "Harmony Row" album. The band then slowly revs up the multi-faceted (a word that could describe almost every song here, truth be told) jazz rocker "Morning Story". Carla Bley shines on organ here. Jack sings the lyrics in an almost haphazard order, mixing lines from one verse with lines from other verses as if he's forgotten the whole song. He did that on "Can You Follow" too. A little unnerving, but if you're not a Jack Bruce fanatic like me you probably won't even notice. Next are two tracks from his then-current album "Out of the Storm": the straightforward blues rocker "Keep it Down", one of the few songs in the set that has anything to do with the blues; and the complex "Pieces of Mind". All these songs so far suffer a little from those unexpected setbacks and tentativeness a band often encounters on stage -- taking a while for the band to get comfortable in its surroundings and really hit its stride. By this time, I was thinking this might turn out to be merely a so-so show; thankfully, the band starts to hit its stride after this rocky start.

Pianist Ronnie Leahy begins a long, beautiful solo piano improvisation, floating easily into "Tickets to Waterfalls", its playful cha-cha rhythm a natural head space for this loose combo. The band stretches the outro into a band improvisation, before Leahy and Bley finish with a variation on the opening piano figure of "Weird of Hermiston", leading neatly into that piece, which leads to further improvisation, finally ending the medley with "Post War", one of the strangest songs in Jack's repertoire, and no less strange in this band's reading. In fact, the rhythm section seems to find a unique groove in this song's psychotic ska (apologies to Jack for this heavy-handed description) approach. The first CD ends with a surprise -- a cover of jazz/fusion legend Tony Williams' "Spirit" - and ironically enough, this sole "jazz" piece rocks twice as hard as anything else in the show! The whole band really seems to kick into a new gear here.

Disc Two begins with the jazzy ballad "One", and it's nice to hear Jack stick closer to the vocal melody a bit more than he'd done so far. The band, still sounding confident, play loosely but assuredly. Things start to rock again with "You Burned the Tables on Me", one of Jack's louder, more aggressive solo numbers, but with rolling, funky rhythms rather than stomping rock rhythms. The band makes the most of its "rolling" nature, and stretches the instrumental parts out for several minutes apiece. I chuckled a bit when I realized that some of these bits reminded me of listening to moe. (an eclectic "jam band" that started in the 90s). The set climaxes with the greatly elongated "Smiles and Grins", as complex and strange a song as Jack has ever written. As this epic piece (elongated to 23 minutes here) unfolds, I realized the band had finally arrived at that coveted space in a live performance when the music seems to play itself. After the bridge, Bruce goes into a quiet but intricate bass solo that held me transfixed for several minutes. Instinctually, the band slowly comes back to join him - first Bley (on Mellotron! did I mention she plays a lot of Mellotron on this? It's great!), then the rest of the band as it fires up the song's 7/8 groove and kicks back into the song. For the song's extended coda, Mick Taylor, who had been mostly quiet for the entire show so far, finally spreads his wings and plays a beautiful, delicate guitar solo that was totally worth the wait. The song comes to a gentle rest at the end, and several reverent seconds pass before the crowd applauds appreciatively, and the band leaves the stage.

As an encore, the band plays the crowd pleaser "Sunshine of Your Love", easily the most famous song Bruce ever had a hand in. The band has fun with it, sticking mostly to the script but adding their own flavor here and there. In the instrumental outro, Bley comes in out of nowhere with the most comical synthesizer solo since "Lucky Man", and it kicks butt as you might imagine.

If you love Jack Bruce's solo material from the late 60s and early 70s, there's no reason why you shouldn't grab this. It's an imperfect document, but of a very special moment in time, a moment you won't hear elsewhere. For more casual fans of this kind of thing, tread carefully - it's not the All-Star-Blow-Session you might expect, it's a mostly laid back, loose and mildly jammy (vocally and insturmentally) set of readings of extremely eclectic jazzy pop songs.

 Out Of The Storm by BRUCE, JACK album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.21 | 18 ratings

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Out Of The Storm
Jack Bruce Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

2 stars After the demise of the second incarnation of Mountain (West, Bruce & Laing) and also billed as Cream 3, JB came back shortly to his solo career but this time he worked with his friends from the extensive touring of WB&L across the USA. Though he'd also signed an album with John Surman and Jon Hiseman, the previous year; this time there is very little jazz in Out Of The Storm, because the people he plays with are definitely of the rock crowds: indeed drummer Keltner and Gordon were typical session men, while Steve Hunter (from Alice Cooper's band) on guitar handles the six strings. Don't get me wrong, this is still a typical JB album (but it's not particularly a good one), where he sings, plays bass and keyboards and there is some kind of continuity with his previous Harmony Row (though the song lengths almost doubled on average), but don't look too much for WB&L and Cream - though it's evident there is the JB links. The lyrics are again from Pete Brown, except for one track coming from Jack's wife.

Opening surprisingly of the near-falsetto Bruce voice over a harmonium in Pieces Of Mind, the usual JB solo sonics return, with a generally "too-busy" bass line. The slow following Golden Days feature some female vocals to enhance Bruce's ambitious project, but the whole thing sounds forced to me. Bruce goes one further with the next Running Through Our Hands song, and he clearly overstretches himself, despite an interesting starting idea and lyrics from his wife. The A-side unravels uneventfully with the album-shortest Keep On Wondering, which has indeed got us so (wondering) but we've got an "iffy" harmonica break in the middle.

The Cream-esque Keep It Down gives you a breath of fresh air with some good Hunter guitars. The would-be title track returns to the weirdness of the A-side, while the longer One is one of better songs, but the album-wide competition is relatively weak. The album closes with its main highlight album-lengthiest Timeslip (an obvious call to his Cream days), but it's clearly the manic mainly instrumental second half that drives it home, especially that Hunter delivers a killer guitar solo? too bad it ends in a fade-out, though.

It's a little sad that the person I consider mainly responsible for 50% of Cream's greatness was never able to confirm this out of the trio's gatefold, and that the more he tried (too hard, IMHO), the sadder it got? But then again, the same observation applies for both Ginger and Eric as well. Despite some valiant tries during the 70's (including a collab with Ex-Procol Harum man Robin Trower), it seems that Jack was more a man of the 60's, rather than the following decades.

 Harmony Row by BRUCE, JACK album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.61 | 33 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.

 Things We Like by BRUCE, JACK album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.04 | 33 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.

Thanks to dick heath for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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