Iconic German TV music television show Rockpalast has shared a number of rare archival videos on YouTube to celebrate what would have been the 80th birthday of the legendary singer, composer and multi-instrumentalist, Jack Bruce, on May 14, 2023.
Born in n Bishopbriggs, Lanarkshire, Scotland, on May 14, 1943, Bruce began playing jazz bass in his teens and won a scholarship to study cello and musical composition at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. After leaving school, he toured Italy, playing double bass with the Murray Campbell Big Band before becoming a member of the London-based band Blues Incorporated – led by Alexis Korner – in which he played the upright bass. The band also included organist Graham Bond, saxophonist Dick Heckstall-Smith and drummer Ginger Baker.
In 1963 the group broke up, and Bruce went on to form the Graham Bond Quartet with Bond, Baker and guitarist John McLaughlin. After leaving the band, he briefly joined with John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers, where he met Eric Clapton. In 1966, he formed the rock supergroup Cream with lead guitarist Clapton and drummer Baker, going on to co-write many of their most-loved songs (including “Sunshine of Your Love”, “White Room” and “I Feel Free”) with poet/lyricist Pete Brown.
After the influential group disbanded in the late 1960s, Bruce put together a band of his own to perform material live and subsequently formed the blues rock band West, Bruce and Laing in 1972, with ex-Mountain guitarist Leslie West and drummer Corky Laing. His subsequent solo career spanned several decades, during which Bruce fronted his own outfits – including the Jack Bruce Band and Jack Bruce & Friends – and collaborate with musicians ranging from Robin Trower to Anton Fier, while In 1993, a solo album, Somethin Els, reunited him with Eric Clapton and brought belated, but widespread, critical acclaim.
Bruce performed several widely-acclaimed live sets for Rockpalast, with his shows for the program later being collected on the audio CD boxset, Live At Rockpalast 1980, 1983 and 1990 released in 2019. The newly-available video footage revisits these concerts, in addition to a shorter, half-hour documentary Swing In – Jack Bruce from 1972.
Bruce guested at Rockpalast in 1980 at the first time on the occasion of the 7th Rockpalast Night, which broadcasted to millions of people all over Europe Live via Eurovision. Bruce’s band that night featured Billy Cobham (Miles Davis, Stanley Clarke) on drums, Clem Clempson (Humble Pie, Colosseum) on guitar and David Sancious (Bruce Springsteen, Santana, Eric Clapton, Sting) on keyboard and guitar. As Jack Bruce And Band he presented a further concert in 1983 at Zeche/Bochum, agin with David Sancious and this time Bruce Gray on drums. He then returned for a third time to play extraordinary solo concert from 1990 at Live Music Hall in Cologne.
Prior to his death in 2014, Bruce reunited with Cream in 2005 for concerts at London’s Royal Albert Hall and at Madison Square Garden in New York and he was s awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006.