Legendary CREAM bassist/singer Jack Bruce died today of liver disease. He was 71 years old.
His family said in a statement: "It is with great sadness that we, Jack's family, announce the passing of our beloved Jack: husband, father, granddad, and all round legend. The world of music will be a poorer place without him but he lives on in his music and forever in our hearts."
Bruce's death was confirmed by his publicist Claire Singers.
She said: "He died today at his home in Suffolk surrounded by his family."
CREAM was formed in 1966, and consisted of Bruce, drummer Ginger Baker, and guitarist/singer Eric Clapton. Their sound was characterized by a hybrid of blues rock, hard rock and burgeoning psychedelic rock, combining imaginative lyrics, often written by poet Pete Brown, Eric Clapton's innovative blues guitar playing, Jack Bruce's operatic voice and fluid bass playing, and Ginger Baker's jazz-influenced drumming.
The group soon evolved further creating a trademark approach built around each musician's virtuoso playing. Their live performances soon became renowned for lengthy improvisational pieces based on traditional blues structures such as "Crossroads" and "Spoonful", modern blues such as "Born Under A Bad Sign", and their own songs such as "White Room" and Ginger Baker's powerhouse showcase "Toad".
Following their first pop hit single "I Feel Free" in January 1967, CREAM's debut, "Fresh Cream", set the tone for group's inventive mix of blues standards and more eccentric original material and reached No. 6 in the UK album charts. It offered a unique blend of blues — Robert Johnson's "Four Until Late" and Skip James' "I'm So Glad" — inventive originals such as "Dreaming" and the showcase, near-instrumental "Cat's Squirrel".
Before the end of the year, CREAM released the follow-up "Disraeli Gears", its distinctive Day-Glo psychedelic cover designed by underground illustrator Martin Sharp. Recorded in May in New York during their first American tour, it includes landmark songs such as "Strange Brew", the melodic but heavy-riffing "Sunshine Of Your Love" and more surrealistic, wah-wah drenched "Tales Of Brave Ulysses"; in all a brilliant, textured, multi-dubbed sound that went beyond blues.
Non-stop touring soon saw CREAM break through in America where "Wheels Of Fire", released in August 1968, topped the U.S. charts for a month and was the world's first platinum-selling double album. It comprised one album "in the studio" — including the Jack Bruce- and Pete Brown-penned classics "White Room" and "Politician" — while the other side was recorded at the Fillmore West in San Francisco, highlighted by expansive readings of "Crossroads" and "Spoonful".