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Nucleus - Ian Carr: Belladonna CD (album) cover




Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.79 | 54 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
4 stars By the time of this album, Nucleus was no more, as commercial success was elusive and offers abounded - especially from Soft Machine that will have a field day plundering electrons from this Nucleus - I know, that was a little tooooo easy ;-) . And Ian Carr was having severe lung problems (for a trumpet player......) and so when he got better (he was writing music from a cheap piano), he decided that this album would not use the Nucleus name, but everything here spells the group, at least songwriting-wise and sonic department; since only Brian Smith is still around from the original line-up. McRae (see Matching Mole), Tomkins (from the Rendell-Carr Quintet), Holdsworth (future everything), Thacker (Auger's Trinity) and Gordon Beck are the essential guests.

Belladona (the 13 min+ opening track) opened up on some atonal sounds but turns into that typical Nucleus funky jazz-rock, but closing on a lengthy solo trumpet, only accompanied by steel percussions. Summer Rain starts off with great el piano (which is a welcome change since the KB was fairly absent in the previous album Solar Plexus) soon accompanied by a heavy bass, and the track sounds a bit like summer dog day's rain. Remadione is a really slow 5AM jazz piece (Dexter Gordon-style in Round About Midnight) but picks up around the end with a guitar-Rhodes duet.

On the flipside, Mayday is one of the better tracks as the Rhodes piano layers intro veers off to superb rhythm guitar, played by Allan Holdsworth in one of his first appearance, underlining Smith's excellent sax. The highlight of this album is Suspension (recorded in one sole take) with bamboo flutes building up to a mid-tempo fusion that brings small spine chills. The last track is a showcase for Allan Holdsworth searing guitar solo, a reward given to him as he had been reduced mostly (however brilliantly) to a rhythm role up to now.

Not the best Nucleus or Nucleus-related album, but still much worthy a spin!! And if you're into Solar Plexus, you might not have a choice either, since it's the second disc of this 2 on 2 BGO release.

Sean Trane | 4/5 |


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