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Thread: Nucleus (and Ian Carr)

  1. #51
    Much though I love the Vertigo releases ...and especially the recently released box set ...I have a soft spot for Out Of The Long Dark and for Lady Bountiful in particular ...although Nucleus' version pales to grey when compared to the United Jazz and Rock ensembles interpretation in United Live Opus Sechs.

    All this talk of Nucleus has led me to reappraise the live albums that are available......

    I know which is my favourite , but would like to consider other opinions; any body care to arrange these albums in order of preference ?


    The Pretty Redhead
    Live In Bremen
    Hemispheres
    Three of a Kind
    Uk Tour 76
    In Flagrante Delicto
    Bracknell Sunshine
    Last edited by prestonplatform; 1 Week Ago at 08:03 PM.

  2. #52
    Quote Originally Posted by flytomars View Post
    Just got the box, gotta admit that I had a gaping hole in my collection- only had one Vinyl best-of from this band, and boy was I missing!
    Am just on the 2nd disc but am enjoying this tremendously so far.
    Which album is your favourite so far ?.......... I am in a minority I guess, but I believe that Labyrinth is Ian Carr's best work

  3. #53
    Moderator Poisoned Youth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by prestonplatform View Post
    All this talk of Nucleus has led me to reappraise the live albums that are available......

    I know which is my favourite , but would like to consider other opinions; any body care to arrange these albums in order of preference ?


    The Pretty Redhead
    Live In Bremen
    Three of a Kind
    Uk Tour 76
    In Flagrante Delicto
    Bracknell Sunshine
    UK Tour ‘76 and Bremen are my favorites. I don’t think I’ve heard Bracknell.
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  4. #54
    Banned Dave (in MA)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by prestonplatform View Post
    Much though I love the Vertigo releases ...and especially the recently released box set ...I have a soft spot for Out Of The Long Dark and for Lady Bountiful in particular ...although Nucleus' version pales to grey when compared to the United Jazz and Rock ensembles interpretation in United Live Opus Sechs.

    All this talk of Nucleus has led me to reappraise the live albums that are available......

    I know which is my favourite , but would like to consider other opinions; any body care to arrange these albums in order of preference ?


    The Pretty Redhead
    Live In Bremen
    Hemispheres
    Three of a Kind
    Uk Tour 76
    In Flagrante Delicto
    Bracknell Sunshine
    My preference, YMMV:
    Hemispheres / Live In Bremen
    The Pretty Redhead
    Uk Tour 76
    In Flagrante Delicto
    Bracknell Sunshine
    I don't have Three of a Kind.
    There's also Awakening (OOP), which I don't have.

  5. #55
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    I ride for "Belladonna" (with Holdsworth,Babbington,Beck).

    Lurv the cover also.

  6. #56
    Member Yeswave's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave (in MA) View Post
    My preference, YMMV:
    Hemispheres / Live In Bremen
    The Pretty Redhead
    Uk Tour 76
    In Flagrante Delicto
    Bracknell Sunshine
    I don't have Three of a Kind.
    There's also Awakening (OOP), which I don't have.
    I got the box set and have been loving it - especially the later funkier albums which I had never heard before. My birthday is next month and I have asked for “Live 1970” (with Leon Thomas) on vinyl. Had never heard Leon Thomas’ before and his voice came as something of a shock - but I was drawn back again and again and am developing an obsession with the album.

  7. #57
    Quote Originally Posted by prestonplatform View Post
    Which album is your favourite so far ?.......... I am in a minority I guess, but I believe that Labyrinth is Ian Carr's best work
    Give me a few weeks to go thru them all and preferably more than once

  8. #58
    Member Jay.Dee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by prestonplatform View Post
    Which album is your favourite so far ?..........
    The first two studio albums from 1970 are the best by far IMO. Plus live Hemispheres.

    The next four, Solar Plexus '71 to Roots '73, are technically Ian Carr's solo albums (recorded with the help of the band) and do not match the early stuff, mostly due to the lack of fresh new ideas. My rating follows the earlier the better rule, but frankly speaking I much prefer Live in Bremen '72 instead and would happily pick some more live stuff from that period.

    The later ones from the 70s, starting with Under the Sun '74 are in full funk-fusion mode and here I also prefer the live sets recorded in that period, e.g. UK Tour '76 and In Flagranti Delicto '77. Perhaps not Dark Magus/Agharta/Pangaea level, but good enough to keep it on shelf.

    I do not know their 80s recordings, except for a portion from the BBC live set on Hux, but it did not make me want to look for more.

  9. #59
    Quote Originally Posted by prestonplatform View Post
    Which album is your favourite so far ?
    Roots
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  10. #60
    Quote Originally Posted by Jay.Dee View Post
    The first two studio albums from 1970 are the best by far IMO. Plus live Hemispheres.

    The next four, Solar Plexus '71 to Roots '73, are technically Ian Carr's solo albums (recorded with the help of the band) and do not match the early stuff, mostly due to the lack of fresh new ideas. My rating follows the earlier the better rule, but frankly speaking I much prefer Live in Bremen '72 instead and would happily pick some more live stuff from that period.
    I don't agree. I think Solar Plexus and Belladonna sure superb, as is Labyrinth. Roots is very good too, just not quite as...after those, the albums are good but not exceptional.

    If you check out my piece on Carr/Nucleus from 2005 (Ian Carr And Nucleus: '70s British Jazz Rock Progenitors) for coverage of live releases available st the time).
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  11. #61
    Member Zeuhlmate's Avatar
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    I know jazzmusicians in Denmark who dont get Ian Carr/Nucleus and find it stiff and dull. They compare it to Miles and the US-scene at the same time.

    I disagree and enjoy it, but haven't really been able to convince them that their approach is wrong.

  12. #62
    ^ I had the exact same experience when discussing with the drummer in one of my own bands during the mid-90s, him being very much a "trad-jazzer" and with little know of European schools of jazz; he basically saw it all through the lens of Miles and Wayne Shorter, Garbarek arguably marking his most "radical" offroad. I tried presenting him with the likes of Doldinger, Marc Moulin and Ian Carr, but he couldn't or rather wouldn't get it. I barely had him sit for a few minutes of John Surman or Chris McGregor, although - to quote him - they were "[…] wrongly coloured".
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  13. #63
    Member Jay.Dee's Avatar
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    Jazz orthodoxy aside, there's a certain rhythmic rigidity to Nucleus in their 1970-73 period, before they went for funk.

    And it does not seem a question of the rhythm section because these guys would play differently elsewhere (e.g. John Marshall in Soft Machine or Jeff Clyne in Isotope), but possibly the general concept of Ian Carr who wanted his band to sound like a small orchestra and not a grooving jazz combo. Even when they played a "Crude Blues" on the first album, it sounded like a thoroughly charted exercise and not a loose jammy work-out (even ELP's "Blues Variation" felt jammier!).



    Despite the lack of backing orchestra I have always felt that Nucleus was rather a response to Miles/Evans third-stream projects than any Miles' late 60s fusion ensembles. It was principally Spedding's explosive guitar playing (and the general timing) that framed them in the mainstream jazz-rock narrative. However, if I think of any American fusion parallels in Europe it is usually Soft Machine (from Third onward) that comes to my mind, not (early) Nucleus.
    Last edited by Jay.Dee; 5 Days Ago at 07:42 AM.

  14. #64
    Member Emeritus (A.M.P.) rcarlberg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jay.Dee View Post
    it sounded like a thoroughly charted exercise and not a loose jammy work-out
    I think that's because IT WAS.

    I could be wrong, but it always sounded to me like the band was playing sheet music written by Carr or whomever was the author of that particular tune. Everybody had their part, with maybe only eight bars in the middle for an improvised solo.

    Miles OTOH would set up a jam, a group improvisation on a lydian scale, and everybody just played whatever they thought fit into that framework. There might be head queues when the opening theme re-emerges, or when everybody lays out for a drum solo, but they weren't reading their parts.

  15. #65
    That's Mr. to you, Sir!! Trane's Avatar
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    the way I rate the live recordings:
    Hemispheres / Live In Bremen
    Uk Tour 76



    The Pretty Redhead (this is much too late in their career, IMHO)
    and I don't have the rest (some I'm not even aware they existed)

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay.Dee View Post
    The first two studio albums from 1970 are the best by far IMO. Plus live Hemispheres.

    The next four, Solar Plexus '71 to Roots '73, are technically Ian Carr's solo albums (recorded with the help of the band) and do not match the early stuff, mostly due to the lack of fresh new ideas. My rating follows the earlier the better rule, but frankly speaking I much prefer Live in Bremen '72 instead and would happily pick some more live stuff from that period.

    The later ones from the 70s, starting with Under the Sun '74 are in full funk-fusion mode and here I also prefer the live sets recorded in that period, e.g. UK Tour '76 and In Flagranti Delicto '77. Perhaps not Dark Magus/Agharta/Pangaea level, but good enough to keep it on shelf.
    I kind of agree with your assessment, though the four "Carr solo" are different ... it took me a while, but I finally came to terms, even though Solar Plexus , I consider it a full-blown band album (though not nearly as exciting as their first two efforts)
    I some ways Donna, Roots & Labyrinth are more experimental and adventurous, precisely because they're not a band effort

    And yes, the second Nucleus (Mk 2 if you want) was definitely funkier

    Quote Originally Posted by jkelman View Post
    I don't agree. I think Solar Plexus and Belladonna sure superb, as is Labyrinth. Roots is very good too, just not quite as...after those, the albums are good but not exceptional.
    SP excepted, one has to see the other three albums as not Nucleus, IMHO, even if you have mostly (and in some case only) band members on them

    Quote Originally Posted by Scrotum Scissor View Post
    I tried presenting him with the likes of Doldinger, Marc Moulin and Ian Carr, but he couldn't or rather wouldn't get it. I barely had him sit for a few minutes of John Surman or Chris McGregor, although - to quote him - they were "[…] wrongly coloured".
    that's the whole point, they didn't want to even try (for fear of liking it).

    I kind of understand the critics against Carr being a Miles copycat (and writing a huge nook about his "hero"), though Carr had a previous life prior to Nucleus



    Quote Originally Posted by Jay.Dee View Post
    Jazz orthodoxy aside, there's a certain rhythmic rigidity to Nucleus in their 1970-73 period, before they went for funk.
    Despite the lack of backing orchestra I have always felt that Nucleus was rather a response to Miles/Evans third-stream projects than any Miles' late 60s fusion ensembles. It was principally Spedding's explosive guitar playing (and the general timing) that framed them in the mainstream jazz-rock narrative. However, if I think of any American fusion parallels in Europe it is usually Soft Machine (from Third onward) that comes to my mind, not (early) Nucleus.
    TBH, once Spedding got out of Nucleus, they never hit the same kind of energy (though the Sutton-era line-up had a different one)

    Amazing thing is that Spedding hated what he was doing (or at least claimed that once he became a punk icon wxith Motorcycle Mama), but he still managed a stupendous JR/F solo album (which he totally disowns)







    remember that most of the first Nucleus moved to Soft Machine
    my music collection increased tenfolds when I switched from heroin-addicts to crazy ones

  16. #66
    Member Emeritus (A.M.P.) rcarlberg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trane View Post
    remember that most of the first Nucleus moved to Soft Machine
    Again, I don't know this for a fact, but I suspect Ian Carr was a stern taskmaster. Softs was probably an "easier gig."

  17. #67
    Quote Originally Posted by rcarlberg View Post
    Again, I don't know this for a fact, but I suspect Ian Carr was a stern taskmaster. Softs was probably an "easier gig."
    Not sure about that at all. Everything I've read suggests that people left Nucleus primarily because of management issues and related financial considerations. Soft Machine was simply a better-paid gig. And remember the Nucleus guys didn't join Soft Machine en masse : Marshall joined first, then Jenkins half a year later and Babbington another full year later.
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  18. #68
    Orange Tick Squasher Buddhabreath's Avatar
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    ^^^
    I can't reference where I read or heard it, but I got the impression that Jenkins left because the new Soft Machine afforded him a better opportunity to "do his own thing".
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  19. #69
    Quote Originally Posted by Buddhabreath View Post
    ^^^
    I can't reference where I read or heard it, but I got the impression that Jenkins left because the new Soft Machine afforded him a better opportunity to "do his own thing".
    Well, technically Jenkins didn't leave Nucleus to join Soft Machine, there was a slight gap. In fact it's a bit shrouded in mystery. There was a "Karl Jenkins Group" that gigged during the first half of 1972, which appears to have been a sort of "rival" Nucleus, and there appears to have been a falling out of some sort between Carr and Jenkins at that point, amidst issues with management that, it would seem, may explain why Carr's band still performed as Nucleus but recorded as Ian Carr. Carr"s recollection when I interviewed him in 2002 was that Jenkins' band gigged as Nucleus, but evidence doesn't support this. Not sure exactly what happened then.
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  20. #70
    Orange Tick Squasher Buddhabreath's Avatar
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    ^^^
    Thanks for that, I was wholly unaware of that part of the history.
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  21. #71
    That's Mr. to you, Sir!! Trane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by calyx View Post
    Well, technically Jenkins didn't leave Nucleus to join Soft Machine, there was a slight gap. In fact it's a bit shrouded in mystery. There was a "Karl Jenkins Group" that gigged during the first half of 1972, which appears to have been a sort of "rival" Nucleus, and there appears to have been a falling out of some sort between Carr and Jenkins at that point, amidst issues with management that, it would seem, may explain why Carr's band still performed as Nucleus but recorded as Ian Carr. Carr"s recollection when I interviewed him in 2002 was that Jenkins' band gigged as Nucleus, but evidence doesn't support this. Not sure exactly what happened then.

    Very interesting

    Do "we" know who would've played in the KJG?
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  22. #72
    Banned Dave (in MA)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by calyx View Post
    ... there appears to have been a falling out of some sort between Carr and Jenkins at that point ...
    Weren't there a few of those with ____ and Jenkins?

  23. #73
    Banned Dave (in MA)'s Avatar
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    I couldn't justify buying the box myself, already owning all the twofers, but I should probably start investigating some of the related offshoots and predecessors, like Prelude to the Heart is a Lotus, Dusk Fire and Shades of Blue, though I also can't justify trying to acquire the recent Rendell/Carr box, not being a vinyl true believer, and I'm unsure about grabbing the original Garrick album because I pretty much concur about the whole "No cocktail-dress beeboopidoop dadadudah or mystic muse at the mic for me" policy that this guy mentions. Some of the Winstone tracks from Nucleus usually get the skip button from me.

  24. #74
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    I purchased "Prelude To Heart Is A Lotus"(CD) for this track alone, and i'm glad i did.The track is "Heart is A Lotus."

    "please do not understand me too quickly"-andre gide

  25. #75
    That's Mr. to you, Sir!! Trane's Avatar
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    ^^^

    Yes great track, but IMHO, the actual MGS's Heart Is A Lotus album is so much better than the Prelude
    my music collection increased tenfolds when I switched from heroin-addicts to crazy ones

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