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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Nucleus with Leon Thomas: Live 1970

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Combine a British jazz-rock outfit with an American vocalist. Put them on stage at the 1970 Montreux Jazz Festival. Record the gig, pop the tapes in a safe place for over 40 years, then give them to the talented team at Gearbox Records. The result is Live 1970, by Nucleus With Leon Thomas, a beautifully produced, lavishly packaged, vinyl double album that invokes feelings of nostalgia and puzzlement alike. Nostalgia? For those who were there--not necessarily at Montreux, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Nucleus with Leon Thomas: Live 1970

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Almost forty five years after it was thankfully captured on tape, this first official release of the June 1970 Montreux Jazz Festival concert by British jazz rock pioneers Nucleus performing with American jazz vocalist Leon Thomas features a truly fascinating set of Thomas' repertoire and blindingly good performances all round. This seemingly unlikely pairing of jazz rockers with jazz singer was explained in the album's sleeve notes written by Ian Carr's biographer Alyn Shipton. Nucleus had ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Nucleus: UK Tour '76

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Nucleus UK Tour '76 MLP 2006

Mike Dixon, of the record label Major League Productions (MLP), by his own admission doesn't know much about jazz, but he does know what he likes. This recording--spanning over 100 minutes of a recorded-for-radio Nucleus concert at Britain's Loughborough University in February 1976, and acquired by MLP as a “saved from the skip" job--is a perfect example of Dixon's excellent acumen. Amazingly, the recording's sound ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Nucleus: UK Tour '76

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If British jazz/rock progenitor Ian Carr and his Nucleus group had made any kind of splash in the US with early albums like Elastic Rock (Vertigo, 1970), they had become largely forgotten by the mid-1970s. That's unfortunate, because they continued to record and tour in the UK and Europe and, with the exit of keyboardist/reedman/composer Karl Jenkins, became a significantly stronger vehicle for Carr's identity.

Later albums like Alleycat (Vertigo, 1975) lacked the panache of the earlier classics, but a ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Nucleus: Hemispheres

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While general interest in Soft Machine continued long after the seminal British jazz/rock group disbanded, the spotlight on trumpeter Ian Carr's Nucleus seemed to go dark following the band's breakup in the early 1980s. With the reissues of the group's back catalogue that have come out in recent years, that spotlight is back on, reminding listeners that Nucleus was just as seminal a jazz/rock outfit. Hemispheres is the first archival live release to feature the original lineup from Nucleus' first ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Nucleus: Hemispheres

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Any release by these British jazz-rock pioneers is a major event. Hemispheres is no exception, and the musical anthropologists at Hux Records have unearthed some genuine hidden treasures from the Palaeolithic Era of fusion. The recording comprises two different European Nucleus sessions, recorded barely a year apart. But from the very beginning, when the short-lived original lineup was playing live, they were unbeatable, as they were to prove both at the Montreux and Newport jazz festivals. There are four previously ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Nucleus: Live in Bremen 1971

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Though hard to believe these days, “fusion" was lauded early in its history as fresh, innovative and a potential economic savior for a slumping industry. But the freshness quickly wore off; innovation gave way to derivative technical exercises; and the sales balm was only temporary. But in its nascent stages, creative groups were eager to experiment with the quickly burgeoning rock scene. Across the pond, a little known group called Nucleus was creating its own distinct brand ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Nucleus: Live In Bremen

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The passage of time has made fusing jazz and rock seem silly and somewhat obvious. The decline of the idiom, when the music consisted of extended fearsome solos, nailed that point home. For every Miles Davis group there were five collections of earnest young men with beards, abundant technique, and no fear of using it. This two-disc set from trumpeter Ian Carr's band, recorded in May 1971, is a case in point. When we're 6 1/2 minutes ...


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