One of the greatest popular musicians Britain has ever produced, Jack Bruce is a supremely talented instrumentalist and vocalist whose pioneering bass playing style has influenced a generation of bassists. He's also the possessor of one of the most powerful voices in modern music and a composer of some of the most original and influential music of the past forty years.
Jack Bruce 'Spirit - Live At The BBC 1971-1978' is set for UK release April 7th, 2008 on Polydor Records. This 3 disc set spans his trips to the BBC between 1971 - 1978 and contains the best of his post Cream BBC recordings. Sessions, concerts and Old Grey Whistle Test broadcasts combined in a beautifully packaged box set containing rare photos and extensive liner notes.
It features some of Jack's finest compositions such as "Folksong", "You Burned the Tables On Me", "Can You Follow?", "Smiles and Grins" and "Morning Story" alongside new arrangements of Cream favourites such as "We're Going Wrong" and "Born Under A Bad Sign". It spans the period during which Jack recorded the albums 'Harmony Row' (1971), 'Out Of The Storm' (1974) and 'How's Tricks' (1977).
These BBC recordings are from the following sources:
On September 18th, 1971 the newly formed Jack Bruce Band recorded a very memorable 'In Concert' performance in front of an invited audience at the BBC Paris Theatre in Lower Regent Street. The line-up of the band was old-cohort, Graham Bond on organ and saxophone, Chris Spedding on guitar, John Marshall on drums and Art Themen on sax. Aside from performing excellent renditions of "You Burned the Tables on Me", "Smiles and Grins", "Folk Song" and "A Letter of Thanks" from Harmony Row, the band performed a new arrangement of the Cream classic "We're Going Wrong" (originally featured on the album Disraeli Gears), and "The Clearout" from 1969's 'Songs for a Tailor'. The set also made reference to Jack's earlier musical past by including "Have You Ever Loved a Woman", featuring Graham Bond on lead vocals and often performed with the Graham Bond Organisation.
Prior to this, Jack joined drummer Jon Hiseman and saxophonist John Surman to record a session for BBC Radio Three's Jazz in Britain series on the 10th August 1971. This session featured a number of specially recorded works, including Jack's "Gone", "Clearway" and the earliest recording of a piece that would feature as part of Jack's live set both with his own band and with West, Bruce and Laing - the excellent "Powerhouse Sod".
By the time 1974's Out of the Storm had been released Jack Bruce was in the throws of forming a new band. Recruiting guitarist Mick Taylor (who had recently left the Rolling Stones), keyboard players Carla Bley (on whose Escalator Over the Hill album Jack guested), Ronnie Leahy and drummer Bruce Gary this line-up became the new Jack Bruce Band.
Pleased with the distinctly different feel the band had given to Jack Bruce's music, the band played an extensive European tour in June 1975. They also recorded a special set for BBC 2's The Old Grey Whistle Test on June 6th. Older material such as "Smiles and Grins", "Morning Story" and "Can You Follow" was performed alongside "Peaces of Mind" and "One" from 'Out of the Storm' and a version of the Tony Williams composition, "Spirit".
In the late summer of 1976 a new incarnation of the Jack Bruce Band was formed with Hughie Burns on guitar, Tony Hymas on keyboards and Simon Phillips on drums and this band began work on the album 'How's Tricks'. Released in March 1977 the album heralded further touring activity, preceded by the recording of another 'In Concert' programme for BBC Radio One at the Paris Theatre on 14th April 1977. This excellent set saw new material such as "Madhouse", "Time", "Baby Jane", "Something to Live For", "Lost Inside a Song", "How's Tricks" and a reworked "Without a Word" performed alongside older material such as "Born Under a Band Sign" (recorded by Cream for the album 'Wheels of Fire').
The final session here saw Jack Bruce reunited with Jon Hiseman and John Surman to record a new session for BBC Radio Three in June 1978 for the programme 'At the Third Stroke', part of the Jazz in Britain series. Three improvisational works were recorded, "Fifteen Minutes Past Three", "Ten to Four" and "Twenty Past Four", and the session was an interesting musical exercise.
Jack Bruce - Spirit: Live at the BBC 1971-1978 on amazon.co.uk
Spirit-Live at the BBC-1971 to 1978 on amazon.com