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640px-ginger_baker_1980LUMPENPROLETARIATMr. Baker truly is a bad ass.  Sometimes that’s a good thing.  Other times, not so much.  Jay Bulger’s film opens with Mr. Baker smashing Mr. Bulger in the face with his metal cane.  But we thank Jay Bulger for his courage in seeking out a musical legend fading in obscurity; and we thank Mr. Baker for his courage in telling his story to the world.  We are all the richer for it.  Mr. Baker’s musical contributions have greatly enriched the world.  Your author recently viewed Beware of Mr. Baker (2012) on NetflixView it on Netflix, or check your local library or DVD rental outlet (or see below). [1]

Messina

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Beware of Mr. Baker (2012, trailer) directed by Jay Bulger

Beware of Mr. Baker (2012) directed by Jay Bulger

Cream May 2005 reunion performance footage at the Royal Albert Hall in London, England, including “White Room“, “Crossroads“, and “Badge”

Cream May 2005 reunion performance footage at the Royal Albert Hall in London, England, including “I’m So Glad” (1 of 22)

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[1]  GONZO:  One of the best moments in the film is the day Mr. Baker meets Mr. Kuti; Fela Kuti that is.  They became best of phenomenal mates, until things change for some reason.  Mr. Baker gets into polo, apparently as a healthy activity living life clean and sober.  Meanwhile, Mr. Kuti becomes a revolutionary candidate for president, whom the Nigerian state must crush.  Mr. Baker hung in there as long as he could, funking out with the African rhythms until the political turmoil became deadly.  Soldiers came and literally ran him out of his own music studio.  The gun shots rang, as he lept out a back window and vaped down the road in his Range Rover.

It’s a trip to see another British white dude, who grew up on African American music.  The first album he ever scored, he stole, it was Art Blakey, or maybe it was Max Roach.  No, it was Art Blakey.  (We’ll have to watch the film again to be sure.)  Some of us, who studied music, if we had really good music professors and instructors, we got a good training in music history.  At the conservatory at the College of San Mateo, Professor Gustavson exposed us to plenty of Art Blakey and Max Roach.  We, humans, mere mortals had only scratched the surface of what rhythms drumming could achieve.  Much of it was too subtle and too sophisticated for the average listener to tolerate or appreciate.  But the hypnotic energy of the revolutionary 1960s was open to the rhythmic complexity of bringing a jazz sensibility (i.e., black classical music sensibility).

So, it was very memorable to see Mr. Baker break down in tears when answering obvious questions about the powerful pull, which the African continent had upon Mr. Baker because he grew up on African-American jazz drumming, which, of course, descends from African drumming, which, of course, descends from ancient human traditions.

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[Image of Ginger Baker playing the drums in 1980 by Zoran Veselinovic used via creative commons law (CC BY-SA 2.0).]

[15 NOV 2016]

[Last modified at 15:42 PDT on 15 NOV 2016]

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