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Nucleus - Ian Carr with Nucleus: Labyrinth CD (album) cover




Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.60 | 57 ratings

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4 stars Apparently, Labyrinth is a concept piece based around the Greek mythological character the Minotaur. Of course had Carr put his figure on the cover in a pair of pimp style flares, holding a gun instead of a knife and his bitch was wearing an afro then the story may have been a bit cooler and fitting to the music. The music does nothing to remind the listener about Greek mythology but it could have been an artful concept if he had placed his character in San Fransisco somewhere in the early seventies. With a brace of wailing trumpets and some tidy electric piano work this album is surely a product of its time. It is cool fusion of the seventies cop show car chase kind but interspersed with noodling and a little more. Chris Spedding's replacement Allan Holdsworth had a quick departed after the Belladona album, probably to join Soft Machine like all the other former Nucleus departed including drummer John Marshall and the multi instrumental Karl Jenkins. And though I jest a little he in fact did join Soft Machine around the time of the Bundles album. With his guitarist now gone Carr decided to not to fill that void with a replacement guitarist, but the absence of guitar adds to a depth rather than a void as that hole is quickly filled by the surrounding musicians including electric piano player Gordon Beck and the dependable Brian Smith sharing saxophone duties with Tony Coe who also adds clarinet. These horns, and not forgetting the trumpets, work in a fantastic harmony making light of Holdsworth's departure despite his obvious talent. And not to forget Roy Babbington and Tony Levin who keep a solid time with bass and drums respectively. Kenny Wheeler and Ian Carr are soaring through the mood with their trumpets often in tandem, often floating freely, giving the music a looser and broader mix than any other Nucleus album, though the previous album, Belladonna, does share those traits. "Adriadne" also offers a new dimension to the Nucleus sound. Singer Norma Winstone adds some dreamy and very jazzy vocals to this track and while on first listen they sound irrelevant and needless they do add some colour to the tune, surrounded by some neat flute work which carries the album forward to the excellent work out within "Arena PT 1" and Arena PT 2" where Labyrinth takes off with some clean and sexy funky fusion sounds based around rock rhythms like much of Nucleus work, but even though the album can range a little wild it still cuts across as one of Carr's better efforts. If the concept of the album is loose and even pointless the music plays on that to great effect. This big band feel version of Ian Carr's Nucleus works a treat here. Cheesy as they come, Labyrinth does not take itself as seriously as the early Nucleus albums.
Philo | 4/5 |


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