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Nucleus - Ian Carr: Old Heartland CD (album) cover




Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.23 | 16 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
3 stars With the final landing of the Nucleus project in the mis_80's, Ian Carr finally took care of a few envies he'd thought about a while back, but never got around to before. Indeed, Old Heartland was only the second album under his own name proper (no link with Nucleus) after 1971's Belladonna, but if his first try was much in the group's soundscapes, OH steps away from it. The album is broken down in two parts, the Third Stream suite and the shorter tracks on the flipside, which still features some Nucleus pillars like Geoff Castle and John Marshall and has Colosseum's Hiseman engineering it on the Abbey Road studios.

The sidelong Northumbrian Sketches suite features a philharmonic orchestra (the 17- musicians Kreisler String Orchestra) lead by Michael Thomas, for which its commission dated from late 86, but it was finally committed to studio in the summer of 88 and released the following year. Yes, we're definitely within the definition of the Third Stream realm, but to me, outside a few sax and trumpet and electric bass (Disjunctive Boogie movement) interventions, we're more in the classical realm than in the jazz one. And to be honest, Ian is a better jazz composer than a classical one, but let's also give him a break: it was his (almost) first shot at it as well. Apparently, this was his second shot, as he'd been commissioned by the German WDR radio broadcast for a work (still un-published on Cd, I believe) of the same genre.

On the flipside, the 5-mins Full Fathom Five opens on some acoustic guitar (courtesy of bassist Katz), before veering slow ECM-type of uneventful soundscape, if it wasn't for Ian's muffled trumpet. While the 7-mins title track is also a soft-sounding fusion ala ECM, it does resemble some of the later Nucleus tracks and is clearly my fave from the album. As for the closing Things Past, it is pretty well in the same realm as its two sisters.

Unlike his 71's Belladonna album, Ian Carr's second solo album is really sounding like a non- Nucleus thing, but if the Ian presence is instantly recognisable it clearly has the Carr paw on the flipside. Now the BGO 2on2 reissue links it with a late 70's Nucleus album is somewhat a mistake, because I'd have coupled it with his first solo album, but then again, there were probably chronology issues in the reissues program

Sean Trane | 3/5 |


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