Carr's Nucleus: Roots LP
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Be With Records present a reissue of Ian Carr's Nucleus' Roots, originally released on Vertigo in 1973. From the wild cover to the iconic breakbeats, Roots is thick, funky-prog jazz-rock heaven. Genius trumpeter and visionary composer Ian Carr was a true pioneer and saw the potential in fusing the worlds of jazz with rock, just as Miles Davis and The Tony Williams Lifetime did in the US. In late 1969, following the demise of the Rendell-Carr quintet, and tiring of British jazz, Carr assembled the legendary Nucleus. Under bandleader Carr, Nucleus existed as a fluid line-up of inventive, skilled musicians. Working together with producer Fritz Fryer and engineer Roger Wake, the seven compositions by Carr, Brian Smith and Dave MacRae that make up Roots flirt with perfection, and Nucleus at that time made up of the cream of 1970s UK jazz with Brian Smith on tenor saxophones and flutes, Dave MacRae on piano and electric piano, Jocelyn Pitchen on guitar, Roger Sutton on bass, both Clive Thacker and Aureo De Souza on drums and percussion, Joy Yates delivering the vocals and of course Carr on trumpet. The title track is a low-slung, doped-out heist-funk. It was sampled by Madlib for Lootpack and Quasimoto's "Loop Digga". The soothing vocal fusion delight of "Images" follows. Meticulously constructed, with gorgeous flute work from Brian Smith, with Joy Yates' silky vocals and Dave MacRae's Rhodes never sounding better. The cool, driving "Caliban" closes out the first side. Originally the third movement in a four-part commission to celebrate Shakespeare's birthday it stands up on its own, all robust rhythms and blended brass. Keyboard color and Carr's trumpet are splashed across the funk drums and basslines (and there's even some bamboo flute). Side two opens with the short, thrilling samba of "Wapatiti". Next up, "Capricorn" forms a smoothed-out, jazzy constellation. Mellow and dreamy, its twinkling percussion and languid horns slowly build the vibe before head-nod drums and a killer bassline enter the fray. With a distinct heaviness that Black Sabbath would've envied, "Odokamona" is a venomous slice of riff-soaked jazz metal, elevated by Carr's wah-wah horns. The album closes with MacRae's exceptionally cosmic "Southern Roots And Celebration". Very much in conversation with Weather Report, it opens as a languorous, spiritual jazz of chiming keys and serene guitar that turns slowly, gorgeously into a mid-paced, brass-laced banger. Keith Davis's cover art for Roots is an acid-tinged airbrush dystopian/utopian living-room party scene. Remastered by Simon Francis from the original Vertigo master tapes. Cut by Pete Norman.