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Nucleus - Live in Bremen (1971)


Nucleus to brytyjski zespół jazz-rockowy,  założony w 1969 roku przez trębacza Iana Carra. Oprócz niego pierwszy skład tworzyli jeszcze: Chris Spedding - gitara, Jeff Clyne - bas, Karl Jenkins - fortepian, obój, Brian Smith - saksofon, flet oraz John Marshall - perkusja. Właśnie w tym składzie nagrali w przeciągu dwóch lat, trzy pierwsze i przy tym świetne płyty: "Elastic Rock" (1970), "We'll Talk About It Later" (1970) i "Solar Plexus" (1971). Niestety, w niedługim czasie dochodzi do zmian personalnych w grupie, J. Marshall i K. Jenkins odchodzą do Soft Machine, z gry w zespole rezygnuje także Ch. Spedding, którego następcą zostaje Allan Holdsworth. Od tej pory skład zmienia się nieustannie, a jedynym stałym muzykiem w zespole pozostaje Ian Carr. Pod szyldem Nucleus powstaje jeszcze wiele albumów, jednak prawdziwe jądro ich muzyki stanowi zdecydowanie pierwszy okres istnienia formacji. Założyciel i zarazem wieloletni trzon grupy Ian Carr zmarł w 2009 roku cierpiąc na chorobę Alzheimera.

If Soft Machine was a rock group that veered towards jazz rock, Nucleus can be seen as a jazz group that veered towards jazz rock, as most musicians were clearly jazz musicians with the notable exception of Chris Spedding (yes, Mr. motocycle-punk/Chameleon-man of rock). If a comparison of those two groups can be made, it is also obvious that Nucleus became a nursing ground for those musicians before joining Soft Machine (around ten musicians did the transfer). They were signed on the famous progressive Vertigo label and the first two superb artwork album sleeves were designed by Roger Dean.

Nucleus was trumpet player (and confirmed jazzmen and biographist) Ian Carr's project and the its discography is rather confusing with the different designations as some were called "Ian Carr's Nucleus", "Nucleus With Ian Carr" or simply "Ian Carr" (but with all Nucleus members playing). This is hardly meaning that he was the main writer, main influence or main soloist. Many outstanding musicians contributed loads of material among which Karl Jenkins, Jeff Clyne, Chris Spedding, Alan Holdsworth, Brian Smith & Dave MacRae. Their music was of a frantic instrumental jazz-rock much alike some Miles Davis jazz-rock of the same era. Loads of wind instruments, but KB and a wide place for the guitarist (Spedding's guitar is superb and grandiose while self-restrained). Clearly the groundbreaking essence of Nucleus is best heard on the early albums as the later albums only managed to repeat the formula but not evolving much. Nucleus lasted as a touring unit until the early 80's and then reformed on the odd occasion since. Alas, early 2009, Ian Carr left us for proggier pastures, leaving behind an important aural and written oeuvre. (Hugues Chantraine)             

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