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Charlie Watts presents Zildjian Drummers Achievement Award to Ginger Baker

Ginger Baker performing at 3rd ZDAA 2008 The third Zildjian Drummers Achievement Awards in December 2008 at Shepherds Bush Empire in London honored drumming icon Ginger Baker. It also commemorated the Avedis Zildjian Company's 385th Anniversary and it was the first ZDAA not held in Boston, Massachussets. The event was hosted by British comedian Al Murray and included an appearance by Rolling Stone and drumming icon himself, Charlie Watts, who presented the Zildjian Drummers Achievement Award to Ginger.
After warming up the audience, Al Murray introduced Craigie Zildjian, CEO, Debbie Zildjian, Vice President and John DeChristopher, Vice President Artist Relations. Craigie remebered the first ZDAA held in Boston in 1998 which honored jazz drumming icons Louie Bellson, Roy Haynes, Elvin Jones and Max Roach.
Debbie Zildjian talked about the second ZDAA held in 2003 which honored Steve Gadd and paid tribute to their father, the late Armand Zildjian. John DeChristopher explained that several songs performed that evening were dedicated to Mitch Mitchell. He also read a message from Mitch's wife to Ginger.
The star-studded event was jam-packed with performances by a "who's who" of musicians. The show opened with Keith Carlock-drums, accompanied by famed bassist Tony Levin, UK guitarist Ray Russell and singer Steve Balsamo. Keith's set consisted of Cream songs with the exception of "Manic Depression", which he dedicated to Mitch Mitchell. Next up was Simon Phillips-drums, also joined by Tony Levin and Ray Russell, plus Gary Husband-keyboards and the horn section consisting of: Courtney Pine-saxophone, Peter King-saxophone and Gerard Presencer-trumpet. Simon's set was a mixture of Cream and Graham Bond Organization material. Singer Steve Balsamo joined them for a version of Jimi Hendrix's "Spanish Castle Music" dedicated to Mitch Mitchell. The first half of the show closed with Simon inviting Keith Carlock back on stage to join him on drums for a rendition of Blind Faith's "Can't Find My Way Home."
Steve White & Trio Valore - Damon Minchella (bass) and Seamus Beaghen (keyboards) with special guest Jon Lord in keyboards -, opened the second half. Steve and the band played a mixture of material by Cream and the Graham Bond Organization, as well as the Jimi Hendrix classic, "Fire" dedicated to Mitch Mitchell. Next up was Bob Henrit (Argent, Kinks, Charlie) setting up the video tribute to Ginger, which included a message from Eric Clapton. Bob introduced Charlie Watts, who then introduced Ginger and presented him with the Zildjian Drummers Achievement Award.
Ginger Baker in 1968Seeing these two living legends side by side is enough of a finale for any show, but this was far from over. Ginger sat behind his drums and was joined by legendary Cream bassist, singer and songwriter, Jack Bruce and the horn section - Courtney Pine (sax), Peter King (sax), Gerard Presencer (trumpet) - to perform jazz standards and Ginger's original composition "Cyril Davies". Ginger then announced that he and Jack Bruce would play "Train Time," which they hadn't performed in 42 years. Ginger's brush work and Jack's harmonica playing and singing brought the house down. Ginger then brought back the horn section along with drummer Tony Allen and percussionist Abass Dodoo, for another original composition, "Aiko Biaye." The grand finale was what Ginger called the "drum up" with Tony Allen, Abass Dodoo and Ginger playing a free form jam of African tribal rhythms.
Commented Craigie Zildjian, "It truly was a special evening for us to have commemorated our 385th Anniversary by honoring Ginger Baker, a drumming icon whose impact in bringing the drum set to the forefront is undeniable."
© 12/2008 Pro-Music-News™
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