Get this crazy baby off my head!




Nucleus - The Pretty Redhead (Live At The BBC 1971 & 1982) - 2003 - Hux Records (UK)

The doyen of British jazz-rock groups, Nucleus was formed in 1969 by trumpeter Ian Carr. He was joined by Chris Spedding, John Marshall and Karl Jenkins. (The latter two went on to join Soft Machine a few years later.) In 1970, Nucleus won the band competition at the Montreux Jazz Festival. The following year, they recorded their debut BBC session, which is now released here for the first time. This is one of the last times that the founder members of Nucleus appeared together, as guitarist Chris Spedding left soon afterwards. If the first session here gives us the opportunity to hear a well-established Nucleus line-up reinterpreting some of its best-known material, the second session (also released here for the first time) is even more of a treat, as this particular version of the band never recorded commercially, and it is Ian¹s only known recording of his piece, The Pretty Redhead. "I'm very pleased with it", Ian says now in his liner notes, "It generates terrific feeling." The release of these BBC recordings shows both the original line-up and a much later edition of the band playing at their fiery best for a radio audience. All in all, a delight for Nucleus buffs, and a fine introduction to the band¹s work for newcomers. © http://www.huxrecords.com/cdsales38.htm
The six BBC tracks on The Pretty Redhead boast fine sound and were recorded at sessions on March 9, 1971 and October 6, 1982. The tracks present Nucleus at quite different phases of their career. The personnel differ quite a bit on each session, too, though Ian Carr and John Marshall are present on both. The first three tracks are from the 1971 date, and show them as an instrumental jazz fusion band not too far removed in tone from the latter-day Soft Machine — hardly a surprise as Karl Jenkins and John Marshall would both join that band the following year. The influence of early electric Miles Davis is heavily felt as well, in a performance that marked one of guitarist Chris Spedding's last appearances with the outfit. As the sleeve notes point out, the version of "Song from a Bearded Lady," a tune from their second album, differs markedly from the studio arrangement in its introductory portion. Despite the large shuffle in personnel, Nucleus were playing in pretty much the same style, though perhaps a tad more inside, on their 1982 session, which marked their only known recording with the lineup featuring Carr, Marshall, saxophonist Tim Whitehead, guitarist Mark Wood, and bassist Joe Hubbard. It's also notable for the inclusion of the group's only known recording of Carr's composition "The Pretty Redhead," though Carr's brief comment at the top of the liner notes laments his failure to hit a couple of high notes in the intro and coda .© Richie Unterberger © 2010 Rovi Corporation. All Rights Reserved http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:gxfyxqqaldfe
This is a bit like the proverbial waiting for a bus and then three come along together. Except in the case of Nucleus you get several re-releases and two 'buses' you never expected. The first, the Cuneiform CD 'Nucleus live in Bremen' was a welcome surprise, but this Hux release is an absolute delight. It is impossible to exaggerate just how important this Hux CD is because it covers unchartered waters in several areas. One is that it, for the first time, displays how good the original Nucleus line-up was playing live. This is demonstrated on the first three tracks ('Song for the bearded lady', 'Elastic rock' and 'Snakehip's dream' where the level of musicianship is superb and Chris Spedding, who said farewell to the jazz scene shortly after leaving Nucleus in favour of other music, is heard in a staggeringly creative context. At times on 'Snakehips' he sounds like a cross between Steve Cropper and John McLaughlin (Jack Johnson era). It is so refreshing to hear 'Song for the bearded lady' and 'Elastic rock' played live that they almost sound like completely new tunes. Again, the live context gives them a dynamic and edge not heard on the original studio recordings. The solos by Carr and Smith particularly are impressive. The later set begins with a 12-bar blues 'Easy does it now' and presents a new incarnation of Nucleus although with Carr (obviously) and Marshall present. A new sound does emerge, but equal in sophistication and funk to the earlier versions of the band. 'Easy does it' begins with a riff which hooks into the memory long after it's been heard - so be warned. Then we have previously never released title track 'The Pretty Redhead' with solos by Whitehead, Carr and Wood. 'Redhead' is a funky starting piece which transforms into a quiet, reflective almost ballad-esque one. It engages the listener straight away. Finally there is the elegiac 'For Miles and Miles' with sombre muted trumpet by Carr, which despite its soulful beginning miraculously changes gear and tempo halfway through and becomes an upbeat and joyful reflection of Miles' later period. This is a really important release for British jazz fans and perhaps all modern jazzers because the quality of the recording is brilliant (although 'live', there is no discernable audience present) and also because this is one of the very first modern British jazz bands to have BBC sessions released on CD. Also, because they are BBC recordings, the novel 'live' sound heard here of Nucleus is recorded in totally first class conditions and is automatically historically important because of this. I only hope that Hux might consider salvaging other long lost gems of British modern jazz from the library vaults of the BBC (should they still be there) because this would be a substantial service to this genre. For Nucleus fans I would need to say that this is not only an indispensable album, but also a truly fantastic one. The cover is great too, accompanied with sleeve notes by Alyn Shipton. Remember, these recordings aren't merely rehashes of old studio tracks played live, they are, in effect, new pieces, often, as with 'Snakehip's dream' with minor changes to the original arrangement. 'The Pretty Redhead' is therefore destined to become an album of the year. Track listing: 1) Song For The Bearded Lady 2) Elastic Rock 3) Snakehips Dream Recorded: March 9, 1971. Studio 1, Kensington House, London, for broadcast overseas on 'Jazz London' for the BBC Transcription Service. Ian Carr (t, fl); Brian Smith (ss, ts, fl); Karl Jenkins (bar, ob, p, elp); Chris Spedding (g); Jeff Clyne (b, eb); John Marshall (d). : 4) Easy Does It Now 5) The Pretty Redhead 6) For Miles and Miles Recorded: October 6, 1982. Maida Vale Studios, London, for 'Jazz In Britain' on BBC Radio 3. The original broadcast was introduced by Charles Fox.Ian Carr (t, fh); Tim Whitehead (ss, ts); Mark Wood (g) ; Joe Hubbard (elb); John Marshall (d). © Roger Farbey, April 2003 http://www.iancarrsnucleus.net/Reviews/PrettyRedheadreview
Nothing much more to add about this important historic musical document from one of the world's greatest jazz fusion bands. The album is VHR by A.O.O.F.C. Search this blog for other Ian Carr/Nucleus releases


1 Song for the Bearded Lady - Karl Jenkins 10:30
2 Elastic Rock - Karl Jenkins 6:03
3 Snakehips Dream - Ian Carr 8:13
4 Easy Does It Now - Ian Carr 9:33
5 The Pretty Redhead - Ian Carr 9:06
6 For Miles and Miles - Ian Carr 6:37

Tracks 1-3 Recorded: March 9, 1971. Studio 1, Kensington House, London, for broadcast overseas on 'Jazz London' for the BBC Transcription Service. Ian Carr (t, fl); Brian Smith (ss, ts, fl); Karl Jenkins (bar, ob, p, elp); Chris Spedding (g); Jeff Clyne (b, eb); John Marshall (d). Tracks 4-6 Recorded: October 6, 1982. Maida Vale Studios, London, for 'Jazz In Britain' on BBC Radio 3. The original broadcast was introduced by Charles Fox.Ian Carr (t, fh); Tim Whitehead (ss, ts); Mark Wood (g); Joe Hubbard (elb); John Marshall (d).


Ian Carr (flute, trumpet, flugelhorn)
Chris Spedding, Mark Wood (guitar)
Jeff Clyne, Joe Hubbard (electric bass)
Karl Jenkins (oboe, piano, electric piano)
John Marshall (drums)
Brian Smith (flute, soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone)
Tim Whitehead (soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone)


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 © 2010 Rovi Corporation. All Rights Reserved. http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=11:39fexq85ldse

IAN CARR BIO [Born: April 21, 1933, Dumfries, Scotland: Died: February 25, 2009, London, England. RIP]

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, All Music Guide © 2010 Answers Corporation http://www.answers.com/topic/ian-carr


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


p/w aoofc

Eric said...

I have a few of the other live ones that have been surfacing in recent yrs.
But I needed this one :D

Like we agree, I don't think there is a bad Nucleus album.


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

Not that I know of Eric. I have one more Nucleus recording. It's an "unoff" BBC 72-80 radio broadcast. Sound is not bad. There's some terrific long jams on it. Have you heard it?

Eric said...

Hmm, not sure if I have that one.
1980? I'm gonna say I don't have it.
Thanks P :D

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

Howzitgoin' Eric? I'll post it anyway. Have you heard all Ian Carr's other works, collaborations? He is mostly associated with fusion, but has probably covered every genre. I'll have a look in the vaults for something good....They're all good!! TTU soon...P