Jack Bruce (born May 14, 1943) is a musician (bass guitar, cello and occasional piano), singer and songwriter.
He first came to attention playing string bass with Graham Bond in the early 1960s. That group covered a range of music, from bebop to rhythm and blues, and blues. It included Ginger Baker.
He played with the John Mayall group and Manfred Mann before moving on to his most famous role as bass player in the power trio (some would say the first "supergroup") Cream. He wrote the most of Cream's original material, with lyricist Pete Brown.
Jack's playing was clearly based on his classical training and he is reputed to have said that Johann Sebastian Bach wrote the greatest bass-lines ever.
In the early days of Cream, Jack played a Fender VI (6 string) bass whose narrow string spacing, and shorter than average scale-length, made it the ideal vehicle for a nimble-thinking and nimble-fingered innovator like Jack.
His next bass was another short-scale model, but this time a more normal looking four-string - the Gibson EB3. This had two powerful pickups, and was (at least in part) responsible for the thick, brooding bass sound that Jack used on albums like Wheels of Fire.
Over the years since Cream, Jack has worked with many fine musicians and collaborated with jazz greats like Carla Bley (on the Escalator Over the Hill album). His initial solo albums after Cream were Songs For a Tailor (with players like Chris Spedding, John Hiseman, Dick Heckstall-Smith, Art Themen and George Harrison), Harmony Row and Into The Storm, then he diversified into jazz again. He later spent time playing as part of Ringo Starr's All-Starr Band.
Bruce continued touring and recording through the late 1990s, often playing a Warwick fretless bass. In the early 2000s he had a sustained period of declining health, and in the summer of 2003 was diagnosed with liver cancer. Bruce underwent a liver transplant in September of 2003 which nearly proved fatal as his body rejected the new organ. In October of 2003 he was reported to be recovering from this setback.