Ginger Baker’s legacy as one of the signature drummers of the rock era is secure. His time with Cream and Blind Faith elevated him to the top of the drumming fraternity. He was inducted into The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame with his Cream bandmates, Eric Clapton and Jack Bruce at the 1993 induction ceremony.
When Blind Faith dissolved, his first project would be the formation of Air Force. Their first self titled album was a double vinyl, live affair. Steve Winwood, Ric Grech, Denny Laine, Graham Bond, Chris Wood, and a backing brass and vocal section would all be on stage. It would fuse rock, jazz, and African rhythms together into an interesting and creative mix. Their second studio album, minus Winwood and Laine, would be a more mundane affair and shortly afterward Air Force would be gone.
Live 1970 catches the band near the end of their career. They was in Europe to be recorded for German television. They were live in the studio but without an audience. They recorded 51 minutes worth of music which was severely edited for the October 20, 1970 broadcast. The full concert has rarely been seen but now returns in its entirety in DVD form. Live Air Force material is extremely rare so this is a welcome addition to the group’s and Baker’s catalogue.
This was third and final incarnation of the band. Joining Baker are vocalist/organist/saxophonist Graham Bond, keyboardist/guitarist/vocalist Ken Craddock, sax/flutist Steve Gregory, sax player Bud Beadle, bassist Colin Gibson, vocalists Aliki Ashman & Diane Stewart, and conga player Speedy Acquaye.
The performance is heavy on the jazz. It is the brass that really drives the sound; for example the saxophones play Clapton’s guitar parts on the classic “Sunshine Of Your Love.”
Almost half of the concert was taken up with the long and sprawling “Early In The Morning/Sunshine Of Your Love” medley which clocks in at just less than 22 minutes. All the musicians step forward to take a solo.