Get this crazy baby off my head!




Nucleus - Alley Cat - 1975 - Vertigo

Ian Carr formed Nucleus in October 1969 to enable individual members to express themselves as fully as possible and explore different ways of grooving. The band, which has always been based in London, started with Ian (trumpet/flugelhorn), Karl Jenkins (piano, baritone, oboe), Brian Smith (saxes, flute), Bernie Holland (guitar), Jeff Clyne (bass, bass guitar) and John Marshall (drums)" [Source: Melody Maker Factfinder Series, 19 April 1975, p.48]

Formed in September 1969, Nucleus were an immediate and explosive success and in 1970 appeared at two of the world's most prestigious jazz festivals at Newport and Montreux. The band were inspired to some extent by the contemporary electrified experiments of Miles Davis, but mostly by Carr's wide-ranging ideas about exotic and non-Western improvisation and rhythmic patterns. These he combined with his own jazz improvisation and the sort of ostinato bass patterns brought into the rock field by Davis acolytes such as Herbie Hancock. It was Davis, however, who was the pre-eminent influence on Carr's work and Carr became one of the world's leading scholars on the subject of Davis and his music. Over the years Nucleus drew in some of the best musicians from the British jazz scene, including John Marshall, Karl Jenkins, Brian Smith, Jeff Clyne, Chris Spedding, Harry Beckett, Tony Coe and Ron Mathewson. Nucleus finally disbanded in the late Eighties. © Steve Voce, © independent.co.uk
This is a another great album from the legendary jazz fusion band, Nucleus. The late, great trumpeter Ian Carr was one of the greatest, and most influential musicians in British jazz. He played some ground-breaking performances with the Rendell-Carr Quintet and Nucleus, and he provided the inspiration for many world-class musicians. He spearheaded a huge revival in modern jazz music in the 1970s, and brought it to the people. This is the mid seventies Nucleus at their very best. Every musician on this recording is brilliant. This is complex, energetic, dynamic, and even melodic jazz-rock fusion brilliantly executed by this great band. Ian died on 25 February 2009, aged 75. Thankfully, his wonderful music and his unconquerable jazz soul lives on. Ian Carr's Nucleus' "Out Of The Long Dark" album is @ ICAR/NUCL/OOTLD The band's "Nucleus UK Tour 76" is @ NUCL/UKT76 Nucleus' "Under The Sun" album is @ ICAR/NUCL/UTS The band's great "Hemispheres" recording is located @ NUCL/HEMISP and Ian Carr with Nucleus' "Labyrinth" album is located @ ICAR/NUCL/LBYTH


1. Phaideaux Corner - Roger Sutton
2. Alleycat - Ian Carr
3. Splat - Ian Carr
4. You Can't Be Sure - Ian Carr, Ken Shaw, Roger Sutton
5. Nosegay - Bob Bertles


Ian Carr -Trumpet, Flugelhorn, Synth.
Ken Shaw - Guitar
Roger Sutton - Bass
Geoff Castle - Keyboards, Moog Synth.
Roger Sellers - Drums, Percussion, Timpani
Trevor Tomkins - Percussion on Tracks 1-3
Bob Bertles - Alto, Baritone, & Soprano Saxophone, Flute


Nucleus began its long jazz-rock journey in 1969, when it was originally formed by trumpeter Ian Carr. They attracted a following after a successful performance at the Montreux International Festival in 1970, which led to the critical success of albums Elastic Rock and We'll Talk About It Later. The other members consisted of saxophonist Karl Jenkins, drummer John Marshall, and guitarist Chris Spedding. Spedding split after the first two albums, but the rest of the lineup lasted until 1972, when Jenkins and Marshall both left to join Soft Machine. Belladonna was the first album with only Carr, and although he enlisted the help of guitarist Allan Holdsworth, the band eventually became a solo venture for his music. They finally broke up in the mid-'80s after several Carr-only albums. © Bradley Torreano, allmusic.com



Ian Carr has been on the cutting edge of the British jazz scene for nearly four decades. Self-trained as a musician, Carr played an important role in the development of jazz-rock fusion, playing with John McLaughlin in the early '60s, forming one of England's first electronic jazz-rock fusion groups, Nucleus, in 1969 and playing with the international band the United Jazz Rock Ensemble, since 1975. In 1982, Carr received a Calabria award in southern Italy for Outstanding Contribution in the Field of Jazz. Wire Magazine presented him a special award for services to British jazz in 1987. Carr has been equally influential as a music journalist and educator. The co-author of a jazz encyclopedia, The Essential Companion, Carr was also the author of Music Outside, an examination of contemporary British jazz published in 1973; Miles Davis: The Definitive Biography, published in 1982; and Keith Jarrett: The Man and His Music, published in 1991. Since 1992, Carr has written a monthly column for BBC Music Magazine. Carr is an associate professor at the Guildhall School of Music and Dance and lectures weekly on jazz history. Born in Scotland and raised in England, Carr thought little of a career in music until he was nearly 30 years old. Educated at King's College in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, where he studied English literature, Carr served in the Army in the late '50s. Shortly after his discharge, he formed a band, the EmCee Five, with his brother Mike and John McLaughlin. Carr remained with the band for two years, leaving to form the Rendell-Carr Group with saxophonist Don Rendell in 1962. During the seven years he worked with Rendell, Carr helped the band record five albums. In September 1969, Carr helped form the groundbreaking fusion band Nucleus. The group attracted international acclaim when it took the top prize in a competition at the Montreaux International Festival in 1970. Carr continued to play with Nucleus until 1989 when he left to tour the United Kingdom and Europe as a soloist on electric trumpet with an Anglo-American orchestra led by American composer George Russell. Old Heartland was recorded with the Kreisler String Orchestra in 1988 while Sounds and Sweet Airs was recorded with organist John Taylor in 1992. © Craig Harris, allmusic.com


Ian Carr (21 April 1933 – 25 February 2009) was a Scottish jazz musician, composer, writer, and educator. Carr was born in Dumfries, Scotland, the elder brother of Mike Carr. From 1952 to 1956, he went to King's College, now Newcastle University, where he read English Literature, followed by a diploma in education. At the age of seventeen Carr started to teach himself trumpet. After university he joined his brother in a Newcastle band, the EmCee Five, from 1960 to 1962, before moving to London, where he became co-leader with Don Rendell of the Rendell–Carr quintet (1963–1969). In its six years, the group (including pianist Michael Garrick, bassist Dave Green, and drummer Trevor Tomkins) made five albums for EMI – all of which have been re-issued – and performed internationally. After leaving the quintet, Carr went on to form the ground-breaking jazz-rock band Nucleus. This led to the release of twelve albums (some under the band's name, some under Carr's), and a successful international career. In their first year they won first prize at the Montreux Jazz Festival, released their first album (Elastic Rock), and performed at both the Newport Jazz Festival and the Village Gate jazz club. He also played with the United Jazz and Rock Ensemble since 1975. Carr worked as a session musician in non-jazz contexts, with Nico, No-Man, Faultline, and others. He also doubled up on flugelhorn. Apart from writing a regular column for the BBC Music Magazine, Carr wrote biographies of the jazz musicians Keith Jarrett and Miles Davis. He was also the co-author of the reference work The Rough Guide to Jazz which has passed through four editions from 1994 (originally Jazz, The Essential Companion, 1988). In addition he contributed sleeve notes for the albums of other musicians (e.g. Indo-Jazz Fusions by Joe Harriott and John Mayer). In 1987, he was appointed associate professor at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, where he taught composition and performance, especially improvisation and was founder of the jazz workshop at the Interchange arts scheme, where pianist Julian Joseph, amongst others, was one of his students.


Nucleus were a pioneering jazz-rock band from Britain who continued in different forms from 1969 to 1985. In their first year they won first prize at the Montreux Jazz Festival, released the album Elastic Rock, an essential creation in the crystallization of a new musical expression, Jazz fusion, and performed both at the Newport Jazz Festival and the Village Gate jazz club. They were led by Ian Carr, who had been in the Rendell-Carr Quintet during the mid and late 1960s, and was a respected figure in British jazz for more than 40 years. Their jazz-based music evolved from an early sound incorporating elements of progressive and psychedelic rock towards a funkier sound in the mid and late 1970s. Nucleus' first lineup was leader and trumpeter Ian Carr, keyboardist/oboist Karl Jenkins, saxophonist/flautist Brian Smith, guitarist Chris Spedding, bassist Jeff Clyne and drummer John Marshall. By their third album, the band had expanded to include trumpeters Kenny Wheeler and Harry Beckett, saxophonist Tony Roberts, bassist Ron Mathewson, percussionist Chris Karan and Keith Winter on VCS3 synthesizer. Dave MacRae joined soon after for several albums.Over the years the band has seen many members: Trumpet & flugelhorn: Ian Carr, Kenny Wheeler, Harry Beckett, , Chris Batchelor: Tenor sax, soprano sax, flute: Brian Smith, Bob Bertles, Phil Todd, Tim Whitehead: Clarinet, bass clarinet, tenor sax: Tony Roberts, Tony Coe: Baritone sax, oboe, piano, electric piano: Karl Jenkins: Piano and electric piano: Dave MacRae, Gordon Beck, Geoff Castle: Guitar: Chris Spedding, Allan Holdsworth, Jocelyn Pitchen, Ray Russell, Ken Shaw, Mark Wood: Bass guitar: Jeff Clyne, Ron Mathewson, Roy Babbington, Roger Sutton, Billy Kristian, Mo Foster, Dill Katz, Rob Statham Drums: John Marshall, Clive Thacker, Tony Levin, Bryan Spring, Roger Sellers Percussion: Chris Karan, Trevor Tomkins, Aureo de Souza, Richard Burgess, Chris Fletcher Synthesizer: Keith Winter, Paddy Kingsland, Geoff Castle, Neil Ardley Vocals: Norma Winstone, Joy Yates (Mrs. Dave MacRae), Kieran White Organ: John Taylor. In August 2005, a special one-off reincarnation of Nucleus, with old and new members, performed at London's Cargo venue, to an enthusiastic reception. This was followed on 30 March 2007 by a Nucleus Revisited concert at London's Pizza Express Jazz Club as part of a series of concerts to mark Jazzwise magazine's 10th anniversary. Nucleus Revisited featured, amongst others, Nucleus stalwarts, Geoff Castle, Mark Wood and Tim Whitehead and on trumpet, as at the 2005 Cargo concert, Chris Batchelor. Although Ian Carr did not play due to ill health, he was present at the concert and received a standing ovation from the ecstatic audience. Nucleus Revisited also appeared at Ronnie Scott's club in London on 4 August 2009 as part of their two week long Brit Jazz Fest. The double billing with Michael Garrick's Quartet drew an appreciative packed house.


A.O.O.F.C said...


p/w aoofc

Eric said...

Ah, very cool :D
I needed this one, thanks very much for uploading it.

A.O.O.F.C said...

Cheers, Eric! Great album. Ian Carr and/or Nucleus never made a bad one. Thanks, & TTU soon

Eric said...

I can totally agree with that comment "Ian Carr and/or Nucleus never made a bad one".

I have pretty much the entire catalog and like them all.

Now I see the Don Rendell catalog of which Ian Carr was part of is being re-issued :D

A.O.O.F.C said...

If you check out
There's a brilliant Carr/Rendell album available. Cheers, Eric. TTu soon

Mike said...

Good stuff. Nucleus is impressive. Too much of today's jazz comes across as being overproduced but this album has depth and range to it. It's sort of reminiscent of the Brecker brothers + Sanborn output back in their 70's heyday, at least in terms of quality and improvisation (but I'd give the edge to the latter). Those guys could do ANYTHING. They sounded superb working with Steve Khan, Jaco Pastorius, Flora Purim, Casiopea, Jun Fukamachi, Steely Dan (though spread out somewhat), etc. But as the 80's waned on and that synth sound became omnipresent, jazz/funk/fusion and songwriting in general really began to take a nosedive...

A.O.O.F.C said...

How are you, Mike? Ian Carr really took his jazz seriously and really thought out his compositions. A genuine fusion innovator, and no mimicker. I always think that "depth" is a huge part of Ian Carr and/or Nucleus' music. I agree with you that the 80's "Synth Culture" created a "shallowness" in music, especially jazz/fusion. It often dominated musical pieces, and left no room for subtle piano, or wind parts. Synth was fine for bands like Yes, ELP, etc, but arguably jazz could have done without overdoses of symphonic Moog, and other synth related instruments. TTU soon

Mike said...

Jazz/funk fusion just works best with the 70's-sounding arrangements, i.e. brass, woodwinds, vibes/steel drum, that type of thing. Also, the way those albums were mastered--because there wasn't a loudness war--there's so much breathing room for the instruments to really have nuance and 'take off'. Everything's spacious. I love that. That's part of the reason I adore Steely Dan. It's that and also the INCREDIBLE songwriting.

A.O.O.F.C said...

Hi, Mike.

I agree with everything you say. The jazz fusion and jazz rock of bands like Nucleus and Steely Dan was based on impeccable instrumentation by outstanding musicians. Aja is an example of a collection of outstanding musical compositions. There is a subtle use of many individual instruments. The spaciousness is there and the depth. And of course the harmonic vocals on that album were unique. We all know how even Michael McDonald was challenged vocally by Becker & Fagen to get things just right. And as you say, the songwriting on that album is superb. Going back to Ian Carr, he was able to create similar sounds, and even without vocals the music was original, innovative, and full of subtle musical nuances. Even now when listening to some of these albums for the umpteenth time, I still hear very subtle and clever elements, maybe just in a drum beat, or horn solo, that didn't seem to "hit my ears" before. Of course with Carr, and the Dan, we are talking about exceptional artists who challenged themselves, and their session musicians to produce the best music possible. And with Steely Dan, no expense was spared to produce everlasting quality. Aja, & The Nightfly are just two examples. Bands like Nucleus produced remarkable sounds without the same expense, which in itself is a great feat. Thanks a million for your comment, Mike, & TTU soon

Anonymous said...

Ian Carr/Nucleus was truly a remarkable band. Though I find their first six or seven albums their most innovative those that followed were still way ahead of the pack. Many thanks for the posting.


A.O.O.F.C said...

Hi, Brian. I love Ian Carr/Nucleus. Way ahead of the pack, and always original. Thanks for comment, & TTU soon