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Sunday, March 01, 2009

NUCLEUS - Song For The Bearded Lady (1971)

R.I.P. Ian Carr (Apr. 21, 1933 - Feb. 25, 2009)
Obit (from The Guardian):

The trumpeter, composer, bandleader and author Ian Carr, who has died aged 75, was a champion of British jazz independence at a time when few believed that a creative offshoot of the music could grow in any soil but America's. He was a freethinker, a self-taught trumpeter who became an accomplished soloist, biographer, campaigner, journalist and dedicated teacher - and one of a handful...who changed the course of jazz in the UK.

Carr's sound, on both trumpet and flugelhorn, seemed like a strikingly elegant and unhurried adaptation of the legacies of early Miles Davis and Clifford Brown, but with his own slightly melancholy fire, applied in the late 1960s to the pianist/composer Garrick's subtle and engaging home-grown repertoire.

In perhaps the biggest decision of his career, he founded the pioneering jazz-rock band Nucleus in 1969 (to the consternation of some conservative acoustic jazz fans). Carr (and his co-writer Karl Jenkins, later to become a classical composer) had managed to make their repertoire a balance of shapely, long-lined, and rather English romantic lyricism with the new rock-driven electric sounds beginning to be adopted by Davis.

Carr could not help making jazz news. He took Nucleus to the Montreux jazz festival (where it won the European Broadcasting Union prize) and then to the Newport jazz festival in the US in 1970, where it became one of the few British bands to make a big impact. But he also found time to research and write a book, Music Outside (1973, republished last year) about the playing and the politics of the contemporary British scene. He also played in fusion bands, big bands and occasionally even free-improv groups, though he was never convinced by the latter idiom.
In 1982 Carr wrote the much-acclaimed Miles Davis: A Critical Biography, and became an associate professor at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London. In 1991 he published Keith Jarrett: The Man and his Music, a rich profile of the pianist, and collaborated with Digby Fairweather and Brian Priestley on the reference book Jazz: The Rough Guide.

He had to fight much adversity for his life was dogged by ill-health and his first wife died in childbirth. He defeated cancer in the mid-Seventies but was afterwards subject to chronic fits of depression and in the last decade he suffered a series of strokes that led to the early onset of Alzheimer's disease, forcing him to spend his last years in a succession of care homes.
This track is a great representation of the UK jazz-rock scene in the early '70s. Still rough, and still rooted in the blues. It starts with a great syncopated horn line, and launches into a timeless groove; so much so that this riff has been repeated numerous times by other groups (most notably by Soft Machine on their "Bundles" album, which has many of these musicians on it). Horn solos abound, John Marshall's drums are punchy as usual, and Chris Spedding's guitar is nice and dirty.

Song : "Song For The Bearded Lady" by Nucleus
From the LP "We'll Talk About It Later" (Vertigo) 1971

Ian Carr : trumpet, flugelhorn
Karl Jenkins : electric piano, oboe, piano, baritone saxophone
Brian Smith : tenor & soprano saxes, flute
Chris Spedding : guitars
Jeff Clyne : bass, electric bass
John Marshall : drums, percussion

1 comment:

Dana said...

Dirty! ha

I LOVED this song. It's raw yet refined. lol

High quality