Ginger Baker dies at 80

Ginger Baker has died. The british drummer, best known for his time with the power trio Cream, was 80.

Baker’s family said on Twitter that he died Sunday: “We are very sad to say that Ginger has passed away peacefully in hospital this morning.”

Baker wielded his blues power and jazz technique to help break open popular music and become one of the world’s most admired and feared musicians.

With his blazing eyes, orange-red hair and fiery temperament, Baker ranked with Keith Moon of The Who as the embodiment of musical fury and uncontrollable personality.

Baker and his many admirers saw him as a rounded, sophisticated musician — an arranger, composer and student of the craft, absorbing sounds from around the world. He had been playing jazz since he was a teenager and spent years in Africa in the 1970s, forming a close friendship with the Nigerian musician-activist Fela Kuti.

“He was so unique and had such a distinctive personality,” Stewart Copeland of the Police told http://www.musicradar.com in 2013. “Nobody else followed in his footsteps. Everybody tried to be John Bonham and copy his licks, but it’s rare that you hear anybody doing the Ginger Baker thing.”

But many fans thought of Baker as a rock star, who teamed with Eric Clapton and Bruce in the mid-1960s to become Cream — one of the first supergroups and first power trios. During its 2  1 /2-year run, Cream sold millions of records and released a run of bluesy, jazzy and psychedelic hits including “White Room,” “Sunshine of Your Love” and “Tales of Brave Ulysses” in addition to rock-driven versions of blues standards such as “Crossroads” and “Spoonful.”