Fresh Cream Live!
K. Lewis | OZ | 02/26/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"N.S.U. ,Sleepy Time Time, Rollin and a Tumblin' and Sweet Wine are all from the debut Fresh Cream. This is what those 4 songs sound like on stage. The Cream's strength is live improvisation and this is their best live document hands down.
Also included is the backing track of Strange Brew with different bluesy lyrics."
The Bill Evans Trio of Heavy Blues
John Palmer | Scarsdale, NY United States | 12/01/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Bill Evans, one of the all time important jazz pianists, had a trio at the turn of the 60's with Scott LaFaro and Paul Motion. Their specialty was true group improvisation: everybody jamming against what the other players in the trio were doing. Each player was individually excellent. Their ability to play off each other was just as good. The result was a unique experience, even for jazz, of otherworldly great improvisation.
For me, Cream live recordings have the same otherworldly greatness for the same reasons. Each player is individually excellent. Their ability to play off each other was just as good. This is what makes their live work completely different from the work in the studio. The studio stuff is great, but it's all in the standard pop song format with a one chorus guitar solo.
I think any rock musician who's into jam bands like Phish, Blues Traveler or the Allman Bros. might be interested in checking Live Cream out. Someone into Led Zep and/or Jeff Beck who doesn't already have this album would also probably like it. Someone into Them Crooked Vultures or Chicken Foot -- the supergroups of today -- might be interested to check out where that concept all began. This album might also be an interesting buy for someone who likes jazz and rock (jazz fusion?). Finally, drummers and bass players who want to hear a band where drums and bass totally step out of a pure support role.
Here's a little more to back up my recommendation...
Eric Clapton very simply became a different artist after Cream. So if you only know his post-Cream work, you will be amazed at the super-nova heat he generates with his playing. I would say that only Mahavisnu John McLaughlin is in the same class with regard to fantastic, flame throwing live guitar playing. Think Carlos Santana emotional intensity with a far greater ability to compose great licks on-the-fly.
Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker came to Cream as jazz players. They were basically crossing over to where the money was (thanks, guys!) You can bet that they knew about the Bill Evans trio, even if Eric was locked into Delta Blues. I believe they pushed Eric to heights of guitar jamming that he hasn't really ever gotten to again.
Jack's bass jamming would be in a class by itself until Stanley Clarke and Jaco Pastorius come along. In that day, the only rock bass player I can think of who is remotely close would be Jack Cassidy with the Jefferson Airplane. But Jack C didn't have Eric and Ginger as musical mates.
Finally, there is Ginger. Year after year, I am more and more amazed by his playing. He creates really funky, swinging drum parts to anchor the conventional parts of a song. Then he cuts lose with great poly rhythmic, constantly shifting beats while the jam goes on. He makes sure that Eric and Jack don't get lost beat-wise and leaves them lots of space to allow a true three-way musical dialogue. At the same time, he is out front with some very interesting statements of his own.
I can truly say that I still listen to Cream, especially live Cream material 40 years later and it still sounds great. So, if you get this for someone and they like it, they'll be thanking you still many, many years from now.