Legendary Cream bassist Jack Bruce has formed a new supergroup with members of Living Colour, Santana and Medeski Martin & Wood called Spectrum Road.
The project celebrates the music of the late jazz drummer Tony Williams, whose jazz-fusion group Lifetime featured Bruce for much of the 1970s. The band consist of Bruce on bass, guitarist Vernon Reid from Living Colour, pianist John Medeski and Carlos Santana’s wife Cindy Blackman-Santana on drums.
Spectrum Road grew out of the Tony Williams Lifetime Tribute and sees the band inspired by the spirit of Williams’ work to create and improvise brand new material.
The supergroup have been lined up to perform at the Montreal and North Sea jazz festivals with more dates to be announced.
aimed at celebrating the work of deceased jazz drummer Tony Williams. Spectrum Road brings together the Scottish bassist and members of Living Colour, Santana and the trio Medeski Martin & Wood.
Spectrum Road was originally formed under a different but self-explanatory name: the Tony Williams Lifetime Tribute. Bruce had spent much of the 70s as a member of Lifetime, Williams’s jazz-fusion ensemble, joining after Cream broke up. Williams died in 1997 and in the years following, Bruce discovered a fellow fan in guitarist Vernon Reid, from Living Colour. Joined by pianist John Medeski and drummer Cindy Blackman-Santana, Carlos’s wife, they have now recorded a debut album and booked a string of 2012 gigs.
“The name ‘Tony Williams Lifetime Tribute’ was accurate in one sense … but it was too limiting,” Reid explained to Guitar Player. “We’re more inspired by the spirit of Tony Williams … It became important for this ensemble to have an identity of its own, and not for it to be tied or frozen by nostalgia for the past.”
Scheduled to play the Montreal and North Sea jazz festivals, and now Tennessee’s Bonnaroo, Bruce emphasised that the group is developing original material. “[We are] using Lifetime as a starting point,” he said. It’s the “inspiration”, Reid agreed, “for this thing that happens when we improvise freely.”
While Spectrum Road have summer gigs in San Francisco, New York, Perugia and more, they have yet to announce any British dates.