Talk about a long, strange trip. Such is the journey of legendary drummer Ginger Baker, whose outsized life in — and often out of — rock and jazz music's most vaunted circles is deftly chronicled in the entertaining documentary "Beware of Mr. Baker."
Writer-director Jay Bulger combines warts-heavy interview footage of Baker with vivid archival bits, concert clips, jaunty animation and chats with various musical greats to paint a lively portrait of yet another brilliant but wildly self-destructive artist.
The film tracks Baker's early days as a scrappy English teen inspired by African drum rhythms to his membership in classic 1960s bands Cream and Blind Faith and later stints with Ginger Baker's Air Force and Masters of Reality. Stops en route — and beyond — included four wives, endless groupies, an addiction to heroin and, of all things, polo, and a six-year stay in Nigeria (he played extensively there with late musical pioneer and activist Fela Kuti).