Eric Clapton has announced a one-off show on 17 February 2020 at London’s Eventim Apollo Hammersmith to honour his late friend and former Cream and Blind Faith colleague Ginger Baker. Eric Clapton & Friends: A Tribute To Ginger Baker will feature other specially-chosen guests to be announced in due course.
The concert will be in aid of Leonard Cheshire, a charity close to the Baker family that “supports individuals to live, learn and work as independently as they choose, whatever their ability, at the heart of local life — opening doors to opportunity, choice and support in communities around the globe.”
The music chosen for the evening will honour Baker’s lifetime in music and naturally, reflect the trailblazing drummer’s time with Clapton in both Cream and Blind Faith. Tickets go on sale on Friday (29 November) at 10am local time. Baker’s social media accounts, which are overseen by his daughter Nettie, announced the event with the message “Very pleased to share this news. Big thank you to @EricClapton.”
uDiscover Music understands from Baker’s daughter that the family were consulted about the idea of the concert from an early stage, and were happy for Clapton to have free creative rein as he understood the drummer as a musician more than anybody.
Nettie tells us exclusively: “You can see by Eric’s own social media posts that he was deeply moved by the passing of a dear friend, and we are delighted to attend. The charity is one where Dad’s only grandchild is campaign manager, and also Leonard Cheshire has a wartime connection: Dad’s father dying in World War II, plus his [Ginger’s] early love of the RAF.”
Baker, who died on 6 October aged 80, was often cast as rock’s first superstar drummer, but his influence on popular music ran far beyond such a simplistic description. With his complex blend of rock, jazz and African styles, he rewrote the role of the drummer in contemporary music, from early days with the Graham Bond Organisation, on into Cream and Blind Faith and then with his own group, Ginger Baker’s Air Force, and later work with African superstar Fela Kuti among many others.
He was also a member, with Cream colleague Jack Bruce and Gary Moore, of the trio BBM, and recorded with Hawkwind, Andy Summers, Public Image Ltd, Masters of Reality and others. Baker was inducted with Cream into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993. His final album in his own name, his fourth, was Why?, released in 2014 by Motema Music.