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Nucleus Under The Sun album cover
3.82 | 46 ratings | 5 reviews | 22% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1974

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. In Procession (2:54)
2. The Addison Trip (3:58)
3. Pastoral Graffiti (3:33)
4. New Life (7:07)
5. A Taste Of Sarsaparilla (0:44)
6. Theme 1: Sarsaparilla (6:47)
7. Theme 2: Feast Alfresco (6:02)
8. Theme 3: Rites Of Man (10:00)

Total Time: 41:05

Line-up / Musicians

- Ian Carr / trumpet, flugelhorn
- Bob Bertles / alto & baritone saxophones, flute, bass clarinet
- Gordon Beck / electric piano, percussion
- Geoff Castle / electric piano, synthesizer
- Jocelyn Pitchen / electric & acoustic guitars
- Ken Shaw / guitar
- Roger Sutton / bass
- Bryan Spring / drums, percussion, timpani

- Keiran White / voice (2)

Releases information

Artwork: Keith MacMillan ("Keef")

LP Vertigo ‎- 6360 110 (1974, UK)

2xCD BGO Records - BGOCD568 (2003, UK) Bundled edition with "Snakehips Etcetera" album

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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NUCLEUS Under The Sun ratings distribution

(46 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(22%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(48%)
Good, but non-essential (28%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

NUCLEUS Under The Sun reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
4 stars March 74 was probably a very rainy month in London as the artwork sleeve of this album seems to hint at. And this weather really permeated to the music feeling as melancholy is the main characteristic of this album.

After a quick opener, we are driven by a quick tempo Addison Trip with excellent bass work. Then into one much jazzier and somewhat dull Pastoral Graffitti. Typically the kind of 5 AM cool jazz in a jazz club tune to finally close off the premises. New Life is another superb bass-driven track full of great climates and is the highlight of the first side of the vinyl. It is closed off by a short preview/glimpse of what is to come on side 2.

And clearly the second vinyl side of the album is where the beef/meat is. The 23 min+ Under The Sun track divided into three themes. Again the dynamic Sutton (bass)/ Spring (Drums) duo is clearly at the forefront of the track and provide a superb rhythm for all of the soloists to expand themselves a bit in the improv/jam mode, but nothing indulgent. The second theme brings you back to the first two albums and is the apex of the album. Pitchen is pitching in a superb flaming guitar solo. However the third theme being marred by a lengthy drum solo, the album closes off with a little feeling of wanting a bit more soup in your bowl.

I would recommend this Nucleus album to all progheads enjoying jam-style bands (such as Allman Bros or Gratefull Dead- style of improv) but are not keen on jazz sonorities. This album as well as In Flagrante Delicto are much in the same style having a rock rhythm but jazz instruments. So the ideal introduction to jazz feelings/sounds but without having the "boring" (to non-initiated) jazz signatures.

Review by Philo
4 stars While singing from the same book as the previous two albums, the Under The Sun album is still a few streets ahead in sheer titanic groove. Carr, seemingly, is less aware of what his idol Miles Davis is doing and getting more in tune with his act and what they can do, sure enough though there are influence aplenty on the album, but the music is the most urgent to have come out under the Nucleus name in a long time. Yes, the mood is pimparama agogo and the whole act are striking a deadly dirty swing. New comer Bob Bertles, who replaced Brian Smith, shines throughout the album adding a fresh impetus to Carr's act while Gordon Beck adds some sweet electric piano to the mood but, unfortunately, it is the flat production which is the albums Achilles heel on more than a few occasions, no more so that the pedestrian drumming which kicks in alongside the horns at the start of the intro track "In Procession", it just lacks that killer punch that would truly have driven the album, but it would have been especially essential here on the first track. Though the second side suite "Sarsaparilla" (including "Theme 1: Sarsaparilla", "Theme 2: Feast Alfresco" and "Theme 3: Rites of Man") seems to have worked out smoothly due to the strength of the music and musicianship rather than being aided by the production, but a cohesive expressive production has never been the strong point of any Nucleus album which in turn has muted a dynamic response that should be audible when combining such eclectic instruments with an act of this calibre. Though I find Under The Sun to be one of the better Nucleus albums, their brand of fusion was certainly getting somewhat predictable in some areas, yet that fails to quench my enjoyment. It is certainly a better album that the previous Roots and with another new line up (Clive Thacker was replaced by Bryan Spring, Dave MacRae left to be replaced by Geoff Castle) has much going for it.
Review by Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Jazz bands are always tricky for me to review because I always feel intimidated by the fact that I've only heard "jazz-rock" albums and have little education with the traditional jazz history. But Ian Carr's Nucleus is certainly an enjoyable and accessible way for a jazz-rock noob to dip their toe. The line-up of this group seemed to be ever changing and this particular album lists nine musicians of credit. It was recorded in London in March 1974 and was supposed to reflect on themes of the outdoors. "In Procession" features a consistent bass groove with Gordon Beck playing something noted as "ring modulated" piano against Carr's horn. "The Addison Trip" has a bit of that funky '70s tv show theme song vibe to it. Solid bass solos are laid over dual percussion, bongos and hand percussions with some wordless vocals by Keiran White, doing a "whoa..whoa.." thing. "Pastoral Graffiti" is fabulous stuff with Bob Bertles laying a sweet, melodic flute solo atop laid back bass guitar and soft cymbals, before some horns come in at the fringes. This track really evokes the imagery of the cover photography, feeling like a warm, rainy summer afternoon. My only complaint is that it ends far too soon at 3 minutes. "New Life" is mostly a wicked guitar solo over some incredibly colorful drumming.this track cooks. It settles briefly in the middle before bringing Carr's trumpet into the mix, then the drumming starts to heat up again. "Theme 1: Sarsaparilla" is a real blast out the gate with lively trumpet dueling with saxophone to a driving bass line. Later Gordon Beck delivers a piano solo before Carr and Bertles just go completely nuts again, some horn jamming to behold for sure. "Theme 2: Feast Alfresco" begins with dark and smoky trumpet over great bass, slow speed. Bertles gets a crack at the sax here too but here they are separate and not dueling each other. Then we have a wah-wah'd guitar solo over e-piano before a nice melodic ending. "Theme 3: Rites of Man" is a long and moody piece of horn over an "endlessly repeated ostinato pattern" as the booklet describes it. It goes on to share a great story about the track: Carr was sitting on a bus in Germany when a man came over to him and said "Mr. Carr, I want to thank you for that wonderful piece, Rites of Man. It's done wonders for our marriage." You'll understand when you hear the track which works to some great jamming. All in all this is a wonderful instrumental jazz album I would recommend to anyone interested in jazz-rock. My first Ian Carr album and I'm quite pleased with it.
Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars This is NUCLEUS' seventh studio album and my least favourite of those. Having said that I agree with the other three reviewers that this deserves 4 stars. Of NUCLEUS' first seven albums the Gnosis site only rates "Labyrinth" below this one. For the first time in NUCLEUS' history Ian Carr doesn't have Brian Smith to help him out here. Beck who guested on "Belladonna" and "Labyrinth" helps out on electric piano. Pitchen (guitar) and Sutton (bass) are back from the previous album "Roots". As the title suggests this album has a theme of the outdoors to it. I have to mention drummer Bryan Spring as well because he is outstanding on this record. Very impressive.This was his first studio album with NUCLEUS.

"In Procession" features crisp drumming as horns come in followed by keyboards. Amazing sound here. Great way to start the album. It ends with the sounds of a parade. "The Addison Trip" opens with drums followed by bass,horns and keys. This one's kind of funky. Check out the bass solo after 2 minutes as drums and percussion help out. It kicks back in to end it.

"Pastoral Graffiti" is just that, a mellow tune with flute and horns. Next up is "New Life", again i'm impressed with the drum work as horns blast away. Nimble bass work too. Guitar before 1 1/2 minutes. The drummer steals the show here though. A calm 3 1/2 minutes in then it slowly builds. Incredible sound here with the horns. "A Taste Of Sarsaparilla" is laid back with horns and keys. "Theme 1 : Sarsaparilla" is uptempo with lots of horns. A calm 2 minutes in is brief.The keyboards are excellent here. Horns and drums dominate later. "Theme 2 : Feast Alfresco" is slowed down but far from pastoral. Drums, bass, horns, keys and guitar all help out. "Theme 3 : Rites Of Man" is my favourite. Bass, keys and drums lead early and it's fairly dark. Horns join in. A drum show before 6 1/2 minutes to before 8 minutes.Then the band kicks in again.

Another excellent album from Carr and the boys.

Review by Warthur
3 stars This 1974 release from Ian Carr and his collaborators proves that as far as Nucleus goes, there truly is nothing new under the sun. It's not that this is a bad album - on the contrary, it's a pretty decent jazz-rock workout. It's just that it isn't really doing anything we haven't already heard the group do with a bit more verve and passion on the group's earlier albums. Where a mere four to five years earlier Nucleus had been ahead of the curve when it comes to this sort of material, here they're sat solidly in the middle of the road, with the end result that you probably don't want to go out of your way to obtain this unless you really can't get enough of the band's sound.

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