Legendary drummer Ginger Baker of the hard/psychedelic supergroup Cream has underwent open-heart surgery. Baker, who is 76 years old, is “miraculously recovering very well”, according to his daughter Leda. While he was disoriented, he was able to call his family the next day to tell them that he was okay.
Baker underwent the surgery in mid-June after canceling a February tour with his band Air Force over heart-related issues. While hopeful about his recovery, Leda warned that they would have to wait and see if Baker would ever be able to tour again. Things have been dreary for Cream fans ever since the death of acclaimed vocalist and bassist Jack Bruce.
While viewed as a rock drummer, Ginger Baker has always preferred being referred to as a jazz drummer. Baker helped to popularize the use of two bass-drums in rock music, a technique that would prove pivotal in the creation of the hard rock and heavy metal genres. Baker’s charisma and unpredictable style always kept concert-goers on their toes, not unlike Keith Moon of The Who. Perhaps most infamous of all is Baker’s five minute long drum solo on the Cream classic “Toad”, in which Baker applies a jazzy, almost avant-garde style to his drumming. Baker’s highly technical drumming and use of coordinated independence (a technique in which a drummer’s limbs play completely separate rhythms) cement him as one of the most talented jazz drummers in the world.