Review of Jack Bruce and Friends titled "Bruce and his
all-star friends rock the Line" by Ira Mayer from the NEW YORK POST March 18,
"AND FRIENDS' is one of those euphemisms that can be used to obscure either the famous or the infamous, particularly when the members of a group are likely to be somewhat transient. In the case of JACK BRUCE & FRIENDS, currently at The Bottom Line, the reference is definitely to well-known musicians- and musicians who reportedly plan to stay together.
Bruce himself is the Scottish bass player and singer best known for his work with Eric Clapton and Ginger Baker in CREAM, probably THE seminal group in the late 60's forging of jazz rock. Constituting the "and Friends" are drummer Billy Cobham [ of the original MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA ] , keyboardist/guitarist David Sancious [once of BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN'S BAND], and guitarist Clem Clemson [British session ace]. As with CREAM, each of the four is a very individualistic player. Bruce's is a gut-rumbling bass style. Sancious is a colorist on keyboard and lyrical on guitar. Clemson provides the lightning riffs and Cobham's rhythmic underpinning is complex in a rough and tumble way.
At last nights early show, there were references to the CREAM days via such chestnuts as SUNSHINE OF YOUR LOVE, but most of the set was given over to fresh material. That vigor was most in evidence when Sancious and Clemson shared lead guitars; pitted directly one-on-one they pushed each other to produce great furious runs, Cobham playing full force[ while restraining his tendency to overwhelm others], and Bruce holding the entire ensemble in reign. This is a form of jazz rock few play anymore , least of all with the authority or consummate musicianship these players bring to it.
The musicianship is perfectly matched all around and for the moment the egos appear to be equally submerged, despite Bruce's name atop the billing. May it continue to be so.
BACK TO ARTICLES