On Sunday, October 6th, the world lost a true musical visionary when Cream's Ginger Baker passed away at the age of 80. Today, Black Sabbath's own groundbreaking beat-maker Bill Ward paid tribute with a touching letter posted to Twitter earlier today, October 10th.
"The bass drums are not in time with each other," Ward opens his tribute. "I search for a 1, listen to the hats, no 1 on the hats, listen for 4 beats on a crash ride, I can't find them, they're in his head." Baker's polyrhythmic delivery was uncanny and unusual in rock & roll of his time, less brutish than John Bonham's and Keith Moon's, holding a jazz-tinged finesse that utilized heaviness as a flavor rather than the meat of the recipe.
Ward continues, "I fall back and listen to the entirety of the rhythm, I hear it all, it's quite brilliant, unique, a leap forward, and alluring, what is this ... when I thought I understood, he changed everything around." The famed drummer continues to analyze in poetic fashion, admitting he'd never met Baker but painting a picture in words about the influential playing he'd come to revere in the late master's work. He ends on a touching note: "Something great has happened, something beautiful has passed."
Read below for the full tribute.