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Nucleus - UK Tour '76 CD (album) cover

UK TOUR '76

Nucleus

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.25 | 9 ratings

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Dick Heath
Special Collaborator
Jazz-Rock Specialist
3 stars I feel some compulsion to review this album before somebody else does. It's more than a case of "I Was There", rather I was involved in a small way in putting on the gig heard here back in 1976. (To fill in detail not provided by Ian Carr's biographer and jazz critic, Ayn Shipton in the liner notes) this was recorded during Loughborough University of Technology SU's Rag Week 1976 - the 'of Technology' bit disappeared in the early 90's - recorded in the main hall of the Edward Herbert Building. At the time Loughborough had the reputation of one of the best gig centres in the UK Midlands and hence some demand by bands to play there. However, our ENTs had not made that effort to book jazz/jazz rock bands, so only Isotope and Elton Dean's Just Us had played there in the previous 2 years, so Nucleus was a rarity. It was clear at the time Leicester and Nottingham University's with departments of music, were more like to put on non-rock bands (as the Soft Machine 'British Tour '75' recorded 4months before at Nottingham SU demonstrates). To the album.

This double CD set is taken from a recording intended for subsequent radio broadcast by Carr and Nucleus, therefore not a legitimised bootleg. I admit I found the Nucleus live double taken from a Radio Bremen broadcast, released last year on Cuneiform, a shock because there was a lot of free jazz played which had little place on their studio albums. However, across the 7 tracks (strictly 8 tunes) found on 'UK Tour '76', free jazz (Carr's thing in the 60's) is not there but instead a lot of enjoyable, relatively funk rhythm driven improvs are. BTW the tunes are taken from various studio albums, and several of them much extended, allowing solos and duets between various players to develop well. Rather like Miles Davis, Ian Carr does not impose himself on the music heard, rather set the scene and let the rest of guys show what they can do within the context of each piece. I suppose one thing about the playing heard here is that no one person shines as an instrumentalist superstar.

One complaint and that is of the sound quality - for all being a proper live recording - I found it rather bright and in particular on the long opening track ,the cymbals sound (to my ear) is mixed way too far to the front. I suppose I got used to it in the end.

As a recorded example of Nucleus live this ain't bad and probably music deliberately aimed at a liberal but rock-oriented student audience, but if you want to hear Nucleus taking more risks, playing freer jazz check out the Radio Bremen recording, where I hazard to suggest the German audience would have been expected to be familiar with that sort of jazz.

3 and half stars

Dick Heath | 3/5 |

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