In Memoriam: Jack Bruce

Jack Bruce

We have lost one of the titans of music and bass. Jack Bruce has passed away at the age of 71, reportedly of liver disease.

According to BBC, Bruce’s publicist has confirmed the news, and the family has issued this statement on the bass legend’s official website:

“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.”

Born on May 14, 1943 in Scotland, Bruce began playing bass in his teens. He was awarded a scholarship to study cello and composition at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, but left due to a conflict with the school over him playing jazz. “They found out,” Bruce told Jim Macnie, “and said ‘you either stop, or leave college.’ So I left college.”

Throughout the early ’60s, Bruce played with John Mayall’s Blues Breakers, Manfred Mann and a number of bands. In the late ’60s, Bruce cofounded the supergroup Cream with Eric Clapton and Ginger Baker. The bassist wrote most of the group’s songs, including “I Feel Free” and “Sunshine Of Your Love”.

Cream broke up in late 1968, and Bruce embarked on a solo career from there, further cementing his status as one of the greatest bassists ever.

Our thoughts are with the Bruce family and his friends. RIP, Jack, and thank you for showing us the way for so many years.

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  1. My sincere condolences to Jack Bruce’s family. I thank you Jack. You set the standard high. As a bassist of 49 years I enjoyed the music you exposed me to.
    Thank You, Jack. You’ll always be alive and well in my home.

  2. Bud Lilly

    My condolences to the family! Great loss for the world of music, but Jack we’ll never be forgotten!! RIP!!

  3. Steve

    One of the reasons I play the bass. R.I.P. to a fellow Scot.

  4. One of the first virtuosos of our instrument. His lines on Crossroads moved me more than Clapton’s solos. Rest in peace, you will be missed.

  5. I still can’t believe that he has passed away. I lost my lighthouse.

  6. jorge

    Se fué un grande.

  7. Absolutely heartbroken to hear this, discovering Jack’s playing when I was 14 and just picking up the bass blew my mind and he’s been such an influence on my bass playing and singing over the years. R.I.P You brilliant, beautiful man :(

  8. Jeff

    The first true ROCK bassist to truly ROCK.

  9. stephen mathis

    my condolences to bruce’s family.a musical legend you won’t be forgotten R.I.P. jack.

  10. Stephen Webber

    So SAD to here of the passing on of Jack Bruce ! Will be sadly missed .But will live on through his MUSIC ! Forever ! Cheers mate .

  11. ghost

    Rock on with the angels Jack! You were a bass master. R.I.P.

  12. The first bass solo that I tried to emulate was Jack Bruce’s. I wish I could recall the tune. It was a slow blues that he did with Cream.

  13. nativeman

    RIP bro.we will always remember you sir.

  14. mike

    cream were part of the soundtrack of my youth when groups were struggling with 3 minutes pop songs the combination of bruce baker and clapton were using a mixture of blues and jazz sensibility to produce driving extended an exciting improvisations after cream jack bruce produced an album songs for a tailor high point in the bruce brown cooperation the music and lyrics were a superb blend of intelligence and sophistication strange and mysterious… songs for a taylor is a masterpiece and still finds its way onto my cd player my heart goes out to jacks family and anyone who loved him

  15. Jack Bruce was the reason that I started to play bass. I went to guitar, but have come back to the bass.
    He was the reason I changed my jazz bass to fretless.
    He will be missed.
    Sande Protich

  16. I’ll buck the sadness trend here and say simply, “I’m So Glad”. I’m so glad I got to hear and see Jack Bruce. To learn musical courage from his forays into familiar and unknown territory. So glad to as a teen have my mind blown by his playing with Tony Williams’ Lifetime. So heartened to read the biography and know the struggles he overcame and the triumphs he achieved. So glad to have had a chance to share with the world so many years of really wonderful, warm, thundering, gritty and soulful music. Jack, I’m so glad you shared your gift with the world!

  17. Wayne Six

    Thanks,Jack,for the most beautiful bass lines!We all learned so much from you.Rock on!

  18. albert mills

    The reason i play bass was hearing Jack at the age of 17 i’m now 64 still gigging, he was the Ceam or the best, and the music world has lost a legend. sincere condolences to Jack’s family

    • Michael Greif

      He is the reason I play bass as well. I was 12 when heard him and 16 when I began to play bass. For all reading this, I know he had an almost 50 year career after Cream, but please listen to “one that Jack wrote” on Cream Live Volume II called “Deserted Cities of the Heart” for the wonderful freedom, ferocity and beauty in bass playing and singing that is Jack Bruce..

  19. Badge was the first song I learned by ear. Mr. Bruce inspired me to start playing. On my radio show yesterday I played a solid 20 minutes of Bruce in memoriam. I still think his work on Apostrophe with Frank Zappa was brilliant.

  20. One of my earliest influences. I bought an EB3 because of Jack. His solo output after Cream was amazing. Thanks for all the great music Jack! Got to see him for the last time with Spectrum Road two years ago. Miss you Jack!