Ian Carr’s Nucleus – Out Of The Long Dark (1979)

FrontCover1Although, I recently found out this album was not the Group’s final studio album, since there was a German-released Awakening album a few years after the present, Out Of The Long Dark is very much in the line of its predecessors. Out Of The Long Dark is the last album of the second full- fledged stable lie-up Nucleus group (one that had started with Under The Sun) and we’re still finding keyboardist Geoff Castle and drummer Roger Sellers, and returning to the fold, woodwind player Brian Smith. Only bassist Billy Kristian is new, replacing the usual Sutton. Great ‘proggy artwork on the artwork cover too.

Recorded hot on the heels of In Flagrante Delicto, OOTLD is almost a brother album, even though there is a general light concept feel to the present as most of the pieces on the flipside are dedicated to long-time buddy and sculptor Gerald Laing (the titles in the brackets are named after a few of his sculptures). But let’s return to the A-side with the 9-mins+ funky Lady Bountyful (inspired by his second wife) track that features long solos from Brian and Ian over a solid groove. The quieter 7-mins Solar Winds features two more percussionist, but the main theme seems to emerge from the Plexus project from almost a decade earlier, even though the groove and keyboard layers are definitely late 70’s-ish, somewhat reminiscent of his buddy Neil Ardley’s Hamony Of The Spheres, on which most of the band participated. The sensual Selina track feature some ecstatic background brass and piano riff.


As mentioned above, the flipside tracks have a bit their own life as the opening 7-mins+ title track features Brian’s flute, the 5-mins Sassy has an ultra-funky bass-line, Simply This’ disputable synth choices (the late-70’s synths were rather tacky in some cases) despite Castle’s superb Rhodes in the second part, the gentle 7-mins Black Ballad’s shifts from slow- mo ballad to mid-tempo funk and the closing trumpet requiem For Liam. Well the least we can say is that Nucleus remained a superb and relevant band all the way until the 70’s decade and that OOTLD might just be a tad better than the IFD release. Definitely worth your while if you’re into classic fusion sounds from the later-70’s. (by Sean Trane)

Ian Carr died aged 75 on 25 February 2009, having suffered from Alzheimer’s disease.


Ian Carr (trumpet, flugelhorn, piano)
Geoff Castle (synthesizer, piano)
Billy Kristian (bass)
Roger Sellers (drums, percussion)
Brian Smith (saxophone, flute, percussion)
Chris Fletcher (percussion on 03.)

01. Gone With The Weed (Carr) 3.26
02. Lady Bountiful 9.14
03. Solar Wind 7.32
04. Selina 4.09
05. Out Of The Long Dark 7.28
06. Sassy (American Girl) 5.08
07. Simply This (The Human Condition) 4.30
08. Black Ballad (Ecce Domina) 6.55
09. For Liam 1.04

Music composed by Ian Carr,
except 03, which was composed by Geoff Castle


  • (coming soon)

Ian Carr (21 April 1933 – 25 February 2009)

Don Rendell & Ian Carr – Live (1969)

FrontCover1.jpgBritish jazz seems to have low visibility to those steeped in the US tradition, so some of these artists may be unfamiliar to LJC readers. I feel reasonably well versed in British jazz in the American tradition – Tubby Hayes, Joe Harriott, Dizzy Reece, Shake Keane and others, but less so with the Don Rendell Ian Carr Quintet, who represent a peculiarly British strain of jazz which emerged in the second half of the ’60s.

As much for my own benefit, here is a quick flyover, inadequate comparisons on my part, merely what first came to mind. Don Rendell, tenor and smaller saxes, flute and clarinet: a cross between Lester Young and John Coltrane with a touch of Archie Shepp (Rendell d. 2015 age 89) ; Ian Carr, trumpet and flugelhorn: a cross between Clifford Brown and Miles Davis (Carr d. 2009 age 75); Michael Garrick, composer and pianist, Duke Ellington meets St Paul’s Cathedral, liked to combine music with poetry readings (Garrick d. 2011 age 78). Dave Green is still playing bass, age 75. Trevor Tomkins is also very much alive and kicking, also age 75, last seen by me a few months back at East Croydon’s The Oval venue, behind the drums of the very excellent Simon Spillett Quartet.

Technically, a pavanne is slow processional dance.The selection Pavanne here is a tango-themed reading from a darker place. It is by no means easy to pidgeon-hole this. Carr’s daring lower register trumpet theatrics are the highlight, and the whole performance has a haunting atmospheric quality that makes this group so original and exciting, staking a claim to Jazz Independence Day.


Rendell/ Carr’s works are not a British extension of US post-bop or modal, but full of fresh instrumental rethinking, drawing on eclectic world influences of Balkan, Indian, African and Middle Eastern music, composed and arranged passages of orchestral narrative, combined with free passages and quirky solos.

Rendell often favours clarinet and soprano sax, without any retro Sidney Bechet vibrato or dixieland stylistics, more classical in rendition. Carr like to shift to flugelhorn, lending variety of tone, and Garrick’s studied classical forms add a different flavour to the mix, not a rhythm section. The whole piece has a conceptual, intellectual quality not often found in more viscerally-driven rhythmic jazz. It has aged well compared to the contemporary jazz fusion that followed it, confirmed by its collector value.


Recorded “live” in 1969 at London’s Lansdowne Studios in Holland Park, before an invited audience of jazz cognoscenti. The improvisations on “Live” feel extended in length, as often happens in live performance compared with stopwatch studio discipline. It is British jazz, from Britain’s premier jazz group of the time (possibly all time), no longer jazz trying to break into the US market, but stylistically confident original voices and compositions, a mixed heritage of jazz roots, classical sensibility, and progressive direction. (by londonjazzcollector.wordpress.co)

Recorded live at the Lansdowne Studios, Holland Park, London, March 18, 1968


Ian Carr (trumpet, flugelhorn)
Michael Garrick (piano)
Dave Green (bass)
Don Rendell (saxophone, flute, clarinet)
Trevor Tomkins (drums)


01. On Track (Garrick) 8.18
02. Vignette (Rendell) 4.58
03. Pavanne (Carr/Tomkins) 9.12
04. Nimjam (Hedley) 3.57
05. Voices (Garrick) 13.34
06. You’ve Said It (Carr/Rendell) 8.37