In an interview with the BBC Jack Bruce once said that EC thought that they were a blues band while Jack and Ginger made him play jazz. The truth is that this was a blues influenced, jazz, rock, beat, teen combo the like of which we had not seen before (no, sorry, that’s The Mothers of Invention).
Cream was a blues rock fusion with a tinge of jazz. What really distinguished Cream from most bands at the time was the level musicianship. EC was well known as a guitarist (over hyped to my mind – but that is an argument for another day). Jack Bruce was ‘classically trained’ and one of the first rock bass guitarists with serious talent. Ginger Baker was a rhythmic genius, one of the few rock drummers who could construct an interesting drum solo – although many tried, and failed sadly….
It is not often remembered that Cream only lasted 2 years or so but had a huge influence on the direction of popular music. Given Baker and Bruce’s volatile history while in the Graham Bond Organisation (Including fights on stage, musical sabotage and threats at knife point), it was not likely that the band would be long lived.