Growing up I was only familiar with Ginger Baker because of his drumming with Cream and was not familiar with his solo work, which is a shame because he has some quite good stuff. Horses and Trees is the fourth solo album from Ginger Baker and was released in 1986. It is an entirely instrumental album that is very groove based. If you are looking for a rocking blues album reminiscent of Cream you will not find it here. Instead you will find a rhythmic album showcasing Ginger Baker’s interest in world music. My only complaint of the album would be that it is only 34 minutes long and I wish there was more.
Bill Laswell coaxed Ginger Baker out of his semi-retirement in Italy to record this album and brought in musicians from all over the world to play on it. Bill Laswell not only produced this album but played bass on it as well. He is joined by Bernie Worrell (Parliament-Funkadelic) on organ, the Indian violinist L. Shankar (Frank Zappa, Shakti) the Greek guitar player Nicky Skopelitis, the Gambia musician Foday Musa Suso (Paul Simon, Kronos Quartet), the Brazilian musician Nana Vasconcelos (Pat Methany), and the Segnalese percussionist Ayib Dieng. The songs, despite having different musicians from different backgrounds on them, flow smoothly from one to the other to make an awesome album. The only constant element is Ginger Baker and he lays down simple yet effective grooves throughout the album. If you like the first track on the album, “Interlock”, then you will surely enjoy the rest of Horses and Trees.
Ginger Baker: Fela Kuti Live with Ginger Baker and Tony Allen