Many musicians have paid tribute to iconic drummer Ginger Baker, who passed away yesterday (October 6) at the age of 80, and joining those tributes is former Blind Faith/Ginger Baker’s Air Force bandmate Steve Winwood.
Winwood shared the following touching and humorous tribute to Baker via his official website:
“A very sad loss, and my condolences to his family and friends.
A loss also for his contribution to music. He was well-grounded in jazz from very early on, and later managed to combine this with African and rock music to create his own inimitable style of playing.
I was lucky to play with him in Ginger Baker’s Air Force, and to meet and work with such luminaries as Phil Seamen, Harold McNair and Graham Bond. And also in Blind Faith with Eric Clapton and Rick Grech. Although his appointment was very unorthodox (he showed up on the doorstep and said, ‘Here I am’) – he made a great contribution to the Blind Faith album which has withstood the test of time.
Beneath his somewhat abrasive exterior, there was a very sensitive human being with a heart of gold.
He’ll be missed.”
Baker had been dealing with health issues for a number of years leading up to his death. In 2013, he went public with his chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) diagnosis, the result of years of smoking. Baker also said he had degenerative osteoarthritis that resulted in chronic back pain. In 2016, Baker had open-heart surgery.
At the time of publishing, funeral service details have not been released.