Get this crazy baby off my head!


Ian Carr

Ian Carr - Belladonna - 1972 - Vertigo

On Belladonna, the late Ian Carr and saxophonist Brian Smith was joined by the legendary fusion guitarist Allan Holdsworth with Dave MacRae on keyboards, Gordon Beck on piano, bass player Roy Babbington, drummer Clive Thacker, and Trevor Tomkins on percussion. The music is a continuation of Ian Carr's early 70's delicate, orchestral, baroque style where he further develops his exploration of timbres and tempos. Wonderful original and elegant music by a genius in the jazz rock/fusion world. Listen to Nucleus' "We'll Talk About It Later" album [All tracks @ 320 Kbps: File size = 91.1 Mb]


1 Belladonna 13:41
2 Summer Rain 6:12
3 Remadione 3:48
4 Mayday 5:40
5 Suspension 6:14
6 Hector's House 4:33

All tracks composed by Ian Carr except "Remadione" and "Hector's House" by Brian Smith


Allan Holdsworth - Guitar
Roy Babbington - Bass
Gordon Beck, Dave Macrae - Electric Piano
Clive Thacker - Drums
Brian Smith - Tenor & Soprano Saxophone, Alto & Bamboo Flute
Trevor Tomkins - Percussion
Ian Carr - Trumpet, Flugelhorn, Horns


Britain's jazz scene embraced jazz-rock as soon as it was invented by Miles Davis. Formed in 1969 by trumpeter and flugelhornist Ian Carr (a veteran bebop musician), Nucleus were among the very first groups to fuse jazz and rock from the jazz perspective. Carr had been playing for almost ten years, first in the EmCee Five (featuring John McLaughlin on guitar) and then in the Rendell-Carr Group, which released five albums before 1969.Except for the jittery, petulant, forceful eight-minute Torrid Zone, Nucleus' first album, Elastic Rock (Vertigo, 1970), was fragmented in brief vignettes that highlighted the group interplay without attempting any major statement. Ian Carr on trumpet and flugelhorn, Karl Jenkins on oboe and piano, Brian Smith on saxophone and flute, Chris Spedding on guitar and bouzouki, Jeff Clyne on bass and John Marshall on drums (both Marshall and Jenkins being ex-members of Graham Collier's ensemble), constituted one of the most skilled combos in the world, and each piece was mainly a display of their technical brilliance and of Carr's command of the melody (Elastic Rock, the sublime Earth Mother).The music began to stretch out on We'll Talk About It Later (Vertigo, 1970), a release that was both more ambitious and more emotive. The slick, breezy seven-minute Song For The Bearded Lady refined Carr's jazz-rock aesthetics to an almost baroque degree and at an almost rocking pace (including lilting guitar riffs to accompany the horn fanfares that bookend the piece). The nine-minute Oasis is mere sheen, as the instruments gracefully danced around the leitmotiv propelled by Marshall's unstoppable rhythm. The constructs are never simple, but their "sound" is smooth and elegant. Sun Child is built around the contrast between the cynical, funky guitar and the sensual horn melodies. We'll Talk About It Later reinvents the blues by translating Jimi Hendrix's Voodoo Chile into the language of Weather Report. The Lullaby For A Lonely Child is the album's romantic zenith, relishing the interplay between the trumpet solo and the dense drumming. Only the cold, brainy and obscure eight-minute Easter 1916, that is also the most frantic and convoluted piece of the album, breaks the magical equilibrium of the whole.Nucleus' evolutionary process led to the "orchestral" sound of Solar Plexus (Vertigo, 1971), where the line-up of Carr, Jenkins, Smith, Spedding, Clyne and Marshall is augmented with the horn section of Kenny Wheeler, Harry Beckett and Tony Roberts, and with the synthesizer. Half of the album is taken by the 21-minute suite Torso / Snakehips' Dream, a new peak for their fluid style of improvisation, but no less charming and challenging are the 7-minute Bedrock Deadlock and the 9-minute Spirit Level.As the original members began playing with the more popular Soft Machine, Nucleus became the name of whatever line-up Ian Carr was playing with. On Belladonna (Vertigo, 1972) the leader and Smith were joined by Allan Holdsworth (guitar), Dave MacRae (keyboards), Gordon Beck (piano), Roy Babbington (bass), Clive Thacker (drums), Trevor Tomkins (percussions). The six tracks (Belladonna, Summer Rain, Remadione, May Day, Suspension, Hector's House) continue the leader's elegant, orchestral, baroque trip, and increase his exploration of timbres and tempos.Nucleus lost Holdsworth but gained Tony Levin, a synthesizer and a plethora of guests (Kenny Wheeler, Trevor Tomkins, violinist Norma Winstone, clarinetist Tony Coe) on Labyrinth (Vertigo, 1973), whose highlights are the 11-minute Origins and the 18-minute Exultation / Naxos. The main innovations were in the rhythmic elements, that acquired a solid geometry of their own and constrained the melodic elements. Carr shone as the impeccable conductor, composer and arranger of the ensemble. Nucleus music was the "sound" that Carr manufactured out of his collaborators.The overall talent of the group was declining, though, as shown by Roots (Vertigo, 1973), the first album to include a vocalist. The rhythm was beginning to sound like funk music and the ensemble was beginning to lose its "choral" appeal due to an excessively smooth production (Roots, Images, Caliban, Whapatiti, Capricorn, Odokamona, Southern Roots And Celebration)Under The Sun (Vertigo, 1974) presented mostly a completely renovated line-up, with, again, a touch of electronics. Despite the 10-minute Rites of Man, the album is mostly uneventful. So were Snakehips Etcetera (Vertigo, 1975), and Alleycat (Vertigo, 1975). The four lengthy pieces of In Flagranti Delicto (Capitol, 1977) partially restored Carr's prestige, particularly in the way he fused traditional jazz and electronic sounds (Gestalt, Mysteries, Heyday, In Flagranti Delicto). Jazz arranger Neil Ardley helped craft the electronic sound of the new Nucleus on Out Of The Long Dark (Capitol, 1979), but the result was a more fragmented and less compelling work, as was the humbler Awakening (Mood, 1980).Live At The Theaterhaus (Mood, 1985) contains all previously unreleased compositions. Despite the return of John Marshall, this is hardly worth of the original Nucleus.Carr eventually found himself toying with classical composition. The result was the four-part Northumbrian Sketches, for jazz ensemble and string orchestra, that appears on Old Heartland (EMI, 1988).Carr also contributed to Zyklus, a quartet with Neil Ardley and John Walters on electronics and Warren Greveson on drum-machines that released Virtual Realities (AMP, 1992).Ian Carr's album of trumpet and organ duets Sounds And Sweet Airs (Celestial Harmonies, 1993) tried to sell his sophisticated sound to the meditative audience of new-age music.Ian Carr also pursued a successful career as a music critic.Ian Carr died in 2009. © 1999 Piero Scaruffi http://www.scaruffi.com/vol2/nucleus.html#title


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


Password is aoofc

Barron said...

A wonderful record, one of many by Ian Carr's Nucleus. Ian Carr seems to have used the most beautiful parts of "Bitches' Brew" and "In A Silent Way" as a jumping off point to create a whole catalog of gorgeous music in that vein.

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

Hi,Barron. Ian was a very influential musician but he himself learned a lot from artists like Miles Davis and others. He took a huge part in the evolution of jazz and fusion. Thanks, & TTU soon...Paul