I'm a guitarist and violinist, music journalist and author specialising in contemporary/modern jazz. My books, Elastic Dream - The Music of Ian Carr: A Critical Discography (2nd Ed) and The Music of Ian Carr - A Critical Discography, were published in 2015 and 2010 respectively. I also write liner notes for albums and edit a website dedicated to the great British jazz musician, teacher and author, Ian Carr ( http://iancarrsnucleus.webs.com ).
My Jazz Story
I love jazz because it's what I think of as truly "progressive" music. Miles and Coltrane undoubtedly inspired
I was first exposed to jazz at the Barry Jazz Summer School in Wales, UK, way back in 1974 - I took along my
had some improvisation lessons with the great guitarist Derek Bailey. I now play guitar mostly.
could?). My other guitar heroes include Charlie Christian, Django Reinhardt, Barney Kessel, Jim Hall, Johnny Smith,
Grant Green, Wes Montgomery, George Benson, Kenny Burrell, John McLaughlin, Larry Coryell, Bill Frisell, Jimi
Hendrix, Frank Zappa, Danny Gatton and Billy Jenkins to name just a few!
I first met Ian Carr around 2002 - he was a polymath and musical genius. He was also a really nice guy. I really
dug his band Nucleus; I saw them on a few occasions including one notable gig at the Country Club in London
where Jack Bruce was depping on bass. I now run the Ian Carr and Nucleus website which I started back in 2002.
Undoubtedly the most memorable gig I ever attended was Miles at Wembley, but I've also been privileged to
witness concerts by Stephane Grappelli, Dizzy Gillespie, Buddy Rich, Sonny Rollins and Ornette Coleman, all superlative players and
true legends. Of the British-based jazz musicians I admire, in addition to Ian Carr (oh, and not forgetting Don
Rendell with whom Carr shared a Quintet) I also hugely admire the music of Mike Westbook, Graham Collier, Mike
Gibbs, John Dankworth, Tubby Hayes, Michael Garrick, John Surman, Stan Tracey, Loose Tubes and the Brotherhood of Breath. The
first jazz record I bought was Zappa's Hot Rats - check out the track "It Must Be A Camel" as a qualifier for the
album's inclusion within the jazz category. Another very early purchase was Jack Bruce's Things We Like - really
excellent, underrated music.
My advice to new listeners is: you need to listen to the older stuff (and there is so much!) but do listen to the new
stuff too, as this is what keeps the music (and the musicians!) alive.
How to describe jazz in two words? "Miles Davis"
- John Coltrane - A Love Supreme
- Miles Davis - In a Silent Way
- Larry Coryell - Barefoot Boy
- Grachan Moncur III - Some Other Stuff
- Ian Carr's Nucleus - Solar Plexus
- Mike Westbrook - Metropolis
- Graham Collier - Songs For My Father
- Archie Shepp - Yasmina - A Black Woman
- Carla Bley - Escalator Over The Hill
- Harry Beckett - Flare Up
- The Tony Williams Lifetime - Turn It Over
- Charlie Parker - The Complete Dial Recordings Box Set
- Charles Mingus - Ah Um
- Alan Skidmore - T.C.B.
- Frank Zappa - Hot Rats