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11,772 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 12 years ago. 912 of them this year alone and, so far, 49 this month (August 13).

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August

Saturday 15: Anth Purdy - Prohibition Bar, Pink Lane, Newcastle NE1 5DW. 8:00pm. Free (donations). Purdy’s solo ‘Swing Jazz Guitar’ show. Limited capacity.

Thursday 20: Vieux Carre Jazzmen - The Holystone, Whitley Road, Holystone, North Tyneside NE27 0DA. Tel: 0191 266 6173. 1:00pm. Free.

Maine St. Jazzmen - Sunniside Social Club, 27 Sunniside Rd., Gateshead NE16 5NA. 8:30pm.

Friday 21: Lindsay Hannon - Prohibition Bar, Pink Lane, Newcastle NE1 5DW. 9:00pm. Free (donations). Limited capacity.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Film Review ‘Beware of Mr Baker’ Director Jay Bulger

(Review by Steve.)
This movie begins as it ends with the 75 year old Baker breaking the directors nose on camera by attacking him with a  cane. 
This is not so much a ‘Rockumentary’  as a ‘Jazzumentary’ for Ginger Baker is first and foremost a Jazz drummer although he found  fame and fortune with  cult rock outfits Cream and Blind Faith. To this day his drumming heroes are Phil Seamen, Max Roach, Art Blakey and Elvin Jones. As Eric Clapton says on camera he was in a different league to the two rock drumming  giants of the late 60’s and early 70s John Bonham and Keith Moon .
Clapton explains that Baker is not just a drummer but a consummate musician able to compose, arrange and lead. Amazingly, unlike the aforementioned two rock drum legends  he is still alive despite leading a similar life of debauchery and serial drug abuse.
Baker, age 14, first got into Jazz when acting as a decoy for a gang nicking records he heard Max Roach on the ‘Quintet of the Year’ album (the other four members were Dizzy, Bird, Bud Powell and Mingus) he stole the LP despite not having a record player and subsequently got ‘strapped’ by his mum when she found out.
 In the late 70’s Baker was the first musician to really get into ‘World Music’  and he went to live in Nigeria for several years to collaborate with the great Fela Kuti. Bizarrely it was also whilst in Nigeria that he got into Polo which has subsequently become a life’s obsession so much so that Ginger seems to have chukkered all of his money on importing dozens of horses to which ever country his nomadic lifestyle takes him.  
This biopic, like its protagonist, pulls no punches. It makes great use of archive photographs and animated charcoal drawings to illustrate scenes from  Mr Baker’s colourful past.  
Baker comes across as a thoroughly unpleasant character despite being one of the giants of modern Jazz/Rock drumming.  To be a member of his family either musically or domestically seems to have been a fraught and literally threatening experience. However, as far as this movie is concerned he is a riveting, engaging,  humorous yet frightening subject – recommended viewing!
‘Beware of Mr Baker’ - Tyneside Cinema 13:55 today (May 30).

1 comment :

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the very useful synopsis. I'm really looking forward to seeing the movie, although sadly I can't get to the screening at the (wonderful) Tyneside Cinema. I'll have to wait for the DVD release.
Ginger's still very active (I suspect the unfortunate reality is that he needs the money). Ginger Baker's Jazz Confusion features Ginger, Pee Wee Ellis on sax, Alec Dankworth on bass (son of Johnny Dankworth & Cleo Laine) and African "drum driver" Abass Dodoo on percussion. Jazz laced with African rhythm. They played The Cluny last year - I really recommend making the effort to see them (before it's too late!). Check out the upcoming tour dates here if interested http://www.ents24.com/uk/tour-dates/ginger-bakers-jazz-confusion.
Thanks again for the film review. Whilst he's undoubtedly a "difficult" human being, his continued musical legacy's right up there with the best of them - and as you point out, covering more genres than most.
Cheers, Les.

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