When Eric Clapton and Ginger Baker both decided that the atmospheres of their respective bands (John Mayall's Bluesbreakers and the Graham Bond Organisation, respectively) were too restrictive, they decided to start a group where all of the members could collaborate in the creative process. Jack Bruce was added as the bassist and vocalist (in spite of a bad history with Baker in the GBO), and thus was born the first supergroup, rock and roll changed forever, etc.
Aided by advances in amplification technology (they started to go to 11), the power trio line-up allowed each member enough space within which they could express their superior musicianship, with the result being a blurring of the distinction between playing rhythm and playing lead. Regardless of what was happening behind the scenes, when Cream played on stage there was a harmonious system of checks and balances within the music reminiscent of the mystical properties of the number '3' itself.
For this 'Barrage a Trois' series of playlists (there will, naturally, be three), we've explored the Vault to find some of the best representations of this line-up, trying to mix the more obvious choices in with some bands you may not have heard of. In this installment, we present those that fit into a similar mold as Cream within the blues-rock and psychedelic-rock genres.
-Ten Years After is not known as a trio, but Alvin Lee did record 2 albums and toured in the late 1970's with Ten Years Later, a different band with Mick Hawksworth on bass and Tom Compton on drums.
-Mountain actually toured with a keyboardist during their peak years in order to differentiate itself from Cream, but this track only includes West, Pappalardi, and Laing at one of their first gigs after first re-uniting. In an interview with Leslie West on the site, he credits Cream and Jiimi Hendrix for changing the face of music.
-The Slip is a trio who, like Rush, trigger loops and play keyboards with their feet so that it sounds, at times, like there are up to 6 people playing at once