Hot Licks: Double Bass On Record
Ginger Baker had a jazz background and brought an improvisational spirit to his drumming with Cream, but will forever be remembered as the man who cemented double bass in rock history. He used a kit very similar to Bellson’s, except that he included a larger bass drum for his left foot, which created two distinct pitches in his double bass work. Thanks to such classic moments as the double bass torrent during the fade-out of “Sunshine Of Your Love,” his bass drum patterns remain staples of drum solos today.
On this excerpt from Cream’s classic drum solo tune “Toad,” we see Baker begin with a broken double bass groove that segues into the alternating sixteenth-note pattern he solos over. He anchors eighth-notes with his hands playing different melodic patterns before breaking into triplet patterns at the end. Though Cream’s 2005 reunion concert DVD has very little double bass in that version of “Toad,” it reminds us that Baker is a drummer with a plethora of ideas and stylistic influences.