Why? - Ginger Baker

from the album Why? (2014)

A friend of mine has a t-shirt that reads "I may be old, but I got to see all the cool bands."  This shirt had the odd effect of making me wish I was older.  You know, Woodstock old.  If only I could have seen The Doors, The Jimi Hendrix Experience,  or The Beatles.  Guess I'm not old enough.

Cream is another band that I wish I had caught live.  By the time I was hanging out in hippie dens - harmonizing "I Feel Free" with my barefoot, incense burning, tie-dye wearing, tambourine rattlin' sisters and brothers - they had gone their separate ways.

Ginger Baker took the road less traveled.  After Cream and Blind Faith, he followed the beat of his own eclectic drum to Africa, playing with the immortal Fela Kuti.  He also drummed for Public Image Ltd, Jeff Beck, Bill Frisell, and on Paul McCartney's Band On The Run album.

At seventy-four, he continues his journey playing daredevil jazz in a band that does not allow chords. Thats right, not guitars or pianos.  Just saxophone, bass, percussion, and Ginger Baker on drums.  The  style is an amalgam of bebop and afrobeat.  There is nowhere for a musician to hide in this format.

I dig the title track.  I imagine myself playing in the band.  Listening.  Anticipating.  Living in each intense moment.  The rhythm and groove laying an off-centered foundation for the sax to blow.  Then they stop in unison and ask, "Why?"  I guess for the same reason a man climbs a mountain.

I am inspired by Ginger Baker's originality and dedication to music.  Maybe I never saw Cream, but I am young enough to see Ginger Baker perform this song live.  Can't wait.

Click Here to watch Why? performed live.

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