Ginger Baker Sets Albany Ablaze With a Night of Improvised Jazz

Ginger Baker brought his new band Jazz Confusion to The Egg for a grand evening of music for a packed audience. Playing two sets, though the second was a little shorter, and an encore, Ginger and his band had the crowd sitting on the edge of their seats to see what they would perform next. Ginger is of course known most famously for being in the super groups Cream and Blind Faith, but at the heart of his playing has always been jazz. He was just getting over a bout with pneumonia, but the only time you would have know he had been sick was when he talked to the audience or stood up from his drum kit. When he was sitting behind the kit, his hands still flew all over the kit with ease. After all these years and problems he has gone through in life, it is a joy to be able to see him still be able to play the drums so effortlessly.

The band that Ginger put together displayed their power during the show, seamlessly weaving in and out of one anothe. Pee Wee Ellis, formerly James Brown’s band leader, played beautiful solos and dotted the songs with intricate melodies on his saxophone, while Alec Dankworth’s bass playing kept the music steamrolling forward. Abass Dodoo, a tremendous percussionist from Ghana, added a flair of Afrobeat to the music of the others and complimented Ginger’s playing perfectly. Anytime one of the members had the chance to take a solo, it was great to see the other three members of the band watch as if they were in the audience and seeing the other member play for the only time on the short tour the band is on. Though there may not have been any “famous songs” played by the group, the crowd at The Egg got their moneys worth and then some from the four virtuoso musicians.

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