Ian Carr — Old Heartland
(CD MMC 1016, 1988, CD)
Ian Carr's Nucleus — Out of the Long Dark
(Capitol TOCJ-50254, 1979/2011, CD)
by Jeff Melton, Published 2003-12-01
One of the last incarnations of Nucleus from the late 70s featured Carr along with long-time cohort Brian Smith on reeds. Geoff Castle, Billy Kristian, and Roger Sellers rounded out this version of the quintet that recorded one of the best selling LPs in the U.S. Capitol catalog, Out of the Long Dark. Kicking off the set was "Gone with the Weed," which illustrated the group's continued maturity since establishing this specific line-up for In Flagrante Delicti a year prior. Note that since dropping the guitarist role from the band, the group steadily got funkier and also injected disco influence, as was the mode of the times. Best tracks on the album are "Lady Bountiful," that relies on a solemn bass line to anchor the tune before diverging into the most memorable bluesy piano solo by Castle on any Nucleus record. The next track, "Solar Wind," is noteworthy for Castle's brilliant Jan Hammer style Mini-Moog solo. "Simply This" is part three of the title track and is a distinct departure, relying on a cutesy synth riff.
Fast forward to 1998 and Carr was out on his own recording a jazz/orchestral suite - "Northumbrian Sketches." With only Castle remaining onboard from the last line-up, old Nucleus/Soft Machine drummer John Marshall and guitarist Mark Wood are added into the personnel. The cornerstone of the arrangement is based largely around the inclusion of the Kreisler String Orchestra, a 32-piece group. It's no surprise that Carr would eventually take this composition route considering Nucleus' successful integration into two of Neil Ardley's best works and the trumpeter's fascination with Miles Davis' Sketches of Spain. Best tracks include "Disjunctive Boogie," where ex-Jeff Beck bassist Mo Foster plays atop a spirited string section doing a keen pizzicato. "Selina" is perhaps the most forlorn song as a pensive violin sections gives way to a mournful clarinet that later blends into a Carr solo which captures a similar flame to that of "Flamenco Sketches". The album was engineered by drummer Jon Hiseman and corresponding liner notes from Neville Farmer, a staple of the UK jazz scene, which on leads further credence to the validity of the work. Together these two album bookend two contrasting road signs in Ian Carr's respected career.
Ennio Morricone RIP – Famed composer Ennio Morricone has died at the age of 91. The creator of scores for more than 500 movies, some of his works have become the most recognizable sounds in the history of cinema. His soundtracks for Sergio Leone's Westerns made from 1964 to 1971, are iconic landmarks in film music, but he also composed for dramas, comedies, and other genres. He won the Academy Award for Best Original Score in 2016 for The Hateful Eight. » Read more
Keith Tippett RIP – One of the giants of British jazz has left us. Keith Graham Tippetts, known professionally as Keith Tippett, died today at the age of 72. His work from the late 60s into the 70s and beyond includes some of the greatest jazz produced in the UK, and stands as an impressive oevre to this day. » Read more
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more
Jorge Santana RIP – Jorge Santana, noted guitarist, leader of the band Malo and brother to Carlos Santana, died on May 14 at the age of 68. Jorge and Carlos worked together on a number of occasions, though Jorge's career was centered around Malo, solo work, and with Fania All-Stars. » Read more