Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography

NUCLEUS

Jazz Rock/Fusion • United Kingdom


From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Nucleus picture
Nucleus biography
Founded in London, England in 1969 - Disbanded in 1989 - One-off shows in 2005, 2007 & 2009

If SOFT MACHINE was a rock group that veered towards jazz rock, NUCLEUS can be seen as a jazz group that veered towards jazz rock, as most musicians were clearly jazz musicians with the notable exception of Chris Spedding (yes, Mr. motocycle-punk/Chameleon-man of rock). If a comparison of those two groups can be made, it is also obvious that NUCLEUS became a nursing ground for those musicians before joining SOFT MACHINE (around ten musicians did the transfer). They were signed on the famous progressive Vertigo label and the first two superb artwork album sleeves were designed by Roger Dean.

NUCLEUS was trumpet player (and confirmed jazzmen and biographist) Ian Carr's project and the its discography is rather confusing with the different designations as some were called "Ian Carr's Nucleus", "Nucleus With Ian Carr" or simply "Ian Carr" (but with all NUCLEUS members playing). This is hardly meaning that he was the main writer, main influence or main soloist. Many outstanding musicians contributed loads of material among which Karl Jenkins, Jeff Clyne, Chris Spedding, Alan Holdsworth, Brian Smith & Dave MacRae. Their music was of a frantic instrumental jazz-rock much alike some Miles Davis jazz-rock of the same era. Loads of wind instruments, but KB and a wide place for the guitarist (Spedding's guitar is superb and grandiose while self-restrained). Clearly the groundbreaking essence of NUCLEUS is best heard on the early albums as the later albums only managed to repeat the formula but not evolving much. Nucleus lasted as a touring unit until the early 80's and then reformed on the odd occasion since. Alas, early 2009, Ian Carr left us for proggier pastures, leaving behind an important aural and written oeuvre.

Not only is NUCLEUS warmly recommended to later SOFT MACHINE, but to all jazzrock/fusion fans and also Canterbury prog buffs.

:::: Bio written by Hugues Chantraine, Belgium ::::

Discography:

ALBUMS:
1970 Elastic Rock
1971 Solar Plexus
1971 We'll Talk About It Later
1971/2003 Live In Bremen
1972 Belladonna
1973 Labyrinth
1973 Roots
1974 Under The Sun
1975 Alleycat
1975 The Snakehips Etcetera
1977 In Flagrante Delicto
1979 Out of the Long Dark
1980 Awakening
1985 Live at the Theaterhaus
1988 Old Heartland
2003 The Pretty Re...
read more

NUCLEUS forum topics / tours, shows & news


NUCLEUS forum topics Create a topic now
NUCLEUS tours, shows & news Post an entries now

NUCLEUS Videos (YouTube and more)


Showing only random 3 | Search and add more videos to NUCLEUS

Buy NUCLEUS Music



More places to buy NUCLEUS music online

NUCLEUS discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

NUCLEUS top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.96 | 144 ratings
Elastic Rock
1970
3.90 | 22 ratings
Chris Spedding: Songs Without Words
1970
4.29 | 320 ratings
We'll Talk About It Later
1971
3.87 | 79 ratings
Ian Carr with Nucleus: Solar Plexus
1971
3.79 | 54 ratings
Ian Carr: Belladonna
1972
3.59 | 56 ratings
Ian Carr with Nucleus: Labyrinth
1973
3.43 | 41 ratings
Ian Carr's Nucleus: Roots
1973
3.80 | 35 ratings
Under The Sun
1974
3.21 | 37 ratings
Snakehips Etcetera
1975
3.29 | 32 ratings
Alleycat
1975
3.10 | 14 ratings
Ian Carr's Nucleus: In Flagrante Delicto
1977
3.21 | 29 ratings
Ian Carr's Nucleus: Out Of The Long Dark
1979
3.16 | 13 ratings
Ian Carr's Nucleus: Awakening
1980
3.21 | 19 ratings
Ian Carr: Old Heartland
1988

NUCLEUS Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.17 | 5 ratings
Live At The Theaterhaus
1985
4.43 | 18 ratings
Live In Bremen, 1972
2003
3.11 | 8 ratings
The Pretty Redhead: Live At The BBC 1971 & 1982
2003
3.21 | 9 ratings
UK Tour '76
2006
3.98 | 11 ratings
Hemispheres
2006
4.50 | 2 ratings
Three of a Kind
2015

NUCLEUS Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

NUCLEUS Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.12 | 7 ratings
Direct Hits
1976
4.21 | 14 ratings
Elastic Rock/ We'll Talk About It Later
1995
4.00 | 2 ratings
Torrid Zone - The Vertigo Recordings 1970-1975
2019

NUCLEUS Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

NUCLEUS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 We'll Talk About It Later by NUCLEUS album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.29 | 320 ratings

BUY
We'll Talk About It Later
Nucleus Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by prog_traveller!!

5 stars Almost six months after their debut album was released, Nucleus recorded their second album in September 1970. Ian Carr's group should continue to be characterized by high productivity in the future. A lot had happened before the recording sessions for "We'll Talk About It Later". At the suggestion and mediation of the BBC, Nucleus played at the Montreux Jazz Festival, where they also won the band competition that was still taking place at the time. The prize was an appearance at the well-known Newport Jazz Festival. Both appearances gave Nucleus and the style they created a massive boost in popularity in Europe. Contract negotiations for the release of the Nucleus albums in America failed due to the band manager's excessive demands. So it happened that Nucleus became a purely European band, which unfortunately never achieved the status and notoriety that they should have been entitled to. Because Nucleus not only made one of the first, but - as the album to be discussed here shows - one of the most successful attempts not only to combine jazz and rock, but to really fuse them together.

"We'll Talk About It Later" was recorded by the same line-up as "Elastic Rock", and the differences between the two discs aren't that great. To the driving, sometimes slightly repetitive patterns of the rhythm department, the humming bass lines from Clyne, the pearly and wavy electric piano runs from Jenkins and the relatively reserved rocking electric guitar from Spedding (the rock department of the group), Carr, Jenkins and Smith on trumpet, flugelhorn, flute, various saxophones and oboe (the jazz group). The melodious, almost dreamy entries of the oboe in particular give the music its own distinct, elegiac character. What is offered here is rather delicate and playful, but at the same time very exciting and varied. Compared to the debut, the music is perfected, comes out of the speakers rounder and a little more thrilling. There is even some vocals in "Ballad Of Joe Pimp" and "Easter 1916".

For me, "We'll Talk About It Later", together with the debut, is the most successful album by Nucleus, which not only represents the high point in the work of Carr and Jenkins, but is also one of the best albums from the Canterbury camp. If you are interested in this prog genre and have no aversions to jazz and the sounds of wind instruments (the second should actually be the prerequisite for the first), you should definitely get the disc. The LP has been re-released on a double CD together with "Elastic Rock". An ideal introduction to the music of Nucleus!

 Ian Carr with Nucleus: Solar Plexus by NUCLEUS album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.87 | 79 ratings

BUY
Ian Carr with Nucleus: Solar Plexus
Nucleus Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by friso
Prog Reviewer

3 stars With 'Elastic Rock' (1970) and 'We'll Talk About It Later' (1971) the jazz-rock / fusion group Nucleus set the highest standard for seventies instrumental jazz rock. This outfit led by Ian Carr was heavily influenced by Miles Davis' transition from bebop to fusion as pioneered on the album 'In a Silent Way'. The band has some funk and rock influences as well. 'Solar Plexus' was also released in 1971, but it wasn't initially planned to be a Nucleus record - all tracks are written by Carr here. The production sound is still quite good, but don't expect that glorious sound of the before mentioned albums. The compositions are less melodic and usually flow around a rather simple chord pattern. The musicianship is of the highest order with beautiful Fender Rhodes sounds, clean stratocaster guitar, tight funky jazz drums, thumping bass and a great assortment of wind-instruments. On side one 'Bedrock Deadlock' shows Ian Carr experimenting with avant-garde to little success in my humble opinion. Side two is perhaps a more pleasant listen with groovy jazz-rock that makes up for great sophisticated background music. Compared to the other records of this band in this era 'Solar Plexus' is less interesting for the progressive rock crowd and therefor I can only give it three stars. Do check out the other records by this band though!
 Elastic Rock by NUCLEUS album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.96 | 144 ratings

BUY
Elastic Rock
Nucleus Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Artik

4 stars In my review of their second album: "We'll talk about it later" I've stated it was a much improvement over the debut which I've described as nice. Well, I'm afraid I'm a bit in dispute with myself now :) After several listenings I consider the debut excellent. It is true their second is even better but the difference isn't big, as they were brilliant right from the start. "Elastic rock" is mostly relaxed (thankfuly not over-polished) but no less passionate and holds many beautiful themes and some dense moments for a good measure. Maybe even more jazz-rooted. It starts with thunderous drums and beautiful but short brass-driven melody to jump over to the next rather calm track, although with quite busy drums by John Marshall. This slowly emerging, a bit abstract and psychedelic feeling prevails through the whole album with all the instruments getting their chance to shine on the way. Not neceserily with speedy solos but with the feeling. Amazing stuff. I rate it with 4,5 star, just like I did with their third "Solar Plexus". Definitely my kind of fussion. Not knowing the later ones I cannot speak of them, but all their first three albums are VERY highly recomended for jazz rock/fussion fans,
 Ian Carr with Nucleus: Solar Plexus by NUCLEUS album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.87 | 79 ratings

BUY
Ian Carr with Nucleus: Solar Plexus
Nucleus Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Artik

4 stars Nucleus (here led by Ian Carr as he was the main composer) was one of the major players in the jazz-rock-fussion premier league. Their third release Solar Plexus is another proof to that, as it easily stands shoulder to shoulder with the best of the genre (Mahavishnu Orchestra, Soft Machine, Weather Report). The music is based on two musical themes and the band is expanding them to work out their relation to each other in the end. As the result the album is a combination of outhere atmospheres with realy groovy drive - it must be my sweet spot as I enjoy it tremendously. 4 and a half star from me.
 We'll Talk About It Later by NUCLEUS album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.29 | 320 ratings

BUY
We'll Talk About It Later
Nucleus Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Artik

5 stars Unbelievably good! It's probably my favourite album of the whole fussion genre. I love Soft Machine, Mahavishnu is very good obviously, Weather Report too and of course Miles and Herbie are both titans, but this Nucleus is something special. Significantly better from their first one, which is nice, but "We'll talk about it later" is another level. The musicianship is flawless, the compositions brilliant, the improvisations marvelous. I know I'm not very specific here, but it's hard to be when dealing with a masterpiece like this. There is a place for calm and beautiful moody moments and for frenetic interplay. There is always something interesting going on but never too dense which in some cases can make a listener a bit tired and tracks hard to differ one from another. But not here, here everything is in the right dose, vocals included. Perfect! I'm listening with awe.
 We'll Talk About It Later by NUCLEUS album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.29 | 320 ratings

BUY
We'll Talk About It Later
Nucleus Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Rivertree
Special Collaborator PSIKE Team & Band Submissions

4 stars What a spirit! Trumpet player Ian Carr has been head of this crew, yet existing until 1989, called up as pioneers of Jazz Rock with good reason. Anyhow, concerning this line-up in 1971, if you are genre affine somehow, two other names are absolutely striking in the first instance. Karl Jenkins (keyboards) and drummer John Marshall also were longtime Soft Machine key figures later. You won't fail to recognize this sound-wise. They are opening with the absolute highlight Song For The Bearded Lady which features some wonderful jam appeal. The song's main theme later will appear on Soft Machine's 'Bundles' again, while showing Alan Holdsworth in the ranks. Backed by a compelling groove all members are coming into bloom here with some solo activity more or less.

Chris Spedding is responsible for the guitar playing, not in the same unique Holdsworth style of course, but absolutely fancy-pancy too, especially while beautifully interacting with Jenkins. Strong wind instrument implementation to notice, not only by Carr, but also due to Brian Smith on sax and flute. Some oriental touch given by the way on the following Sun Child. This stuff must have inspired the German Embryo crew too, I'm sure. Just mentioning Oasis for example some avantgarde moments leaning towards Miles Davis are presented. Well, this is an album I'll be stuck to as long as I'm still breathing. The extraordinary verve decreases a bit towards the end, otherwise I would have rated this a masterpiece of prog music with ease. 4.5 stars.

 Ian Carr's Nucleus: Out Of The Long Dark by NUCLEUS album cover Studio Album, 1979
3.21 | 29 ratings

BUY
Ian Carr's Nucleus: Out Of The Long Dark
Nucleus Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Kingsnake

4 stars I absolutely adore this album.

One of the better fusion-albums from the UK. The trumpet of Ian Carr is very recognizable, almost like Miles Davis or Roy Hargrove. A lot of bop-styled trumpet, with some great sax-work aswell.

But the accompanying music is more funky, stylized with lots of piano and electric piano, percussion and some funky bass. This is not high-octane jazz rock fusion like Return to Forever and Weather Report but more laid-back birth of the cool- jazz rock fusion. I like this more laidback style.

All members of this Ian Carr's Nucleus were also members of Nucleus, so I don't really understand the name-change. But a lot of jazzrock bands did the same (Return to Forever, Headhunters). The bandleader's name is more important than the bandname itself. But to me this is just another Nucleus album.

 Torrid Zone - The Vertigo Recordings 1970-1975 by NUCLEUS album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2019
4.00 | 2 ratings

BUY
Torrid Zone - The Vertigo Recordings 1970-1975
Nucleus Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

4 stars NUCLEUS and its frontman, trumpetist Ian Carr (the albums we are now dealing with have both the band name and Carr's name on top of them, in various combinations) were among the leading acts in the British jazz fusion scene in the early seventies. Those listeners that are into the [post-Third] jazz era of SOFT MACHINE, are most likely already familiar with Nucleus -- and if not, in Nucleus they will surely find another band to appreciate. In fact several musicians who had played in Nucleus joined Soft Machine: Karl Jenkins, Roy Babbington, Allan Holdsworth, John Marshall... This brand new Esoteric Recordings release Torrid Zone is a 6-disc (in total 6 h 20 min) box set containing nine Nucleus/Carr albums released by Vertigo in 1970-1975: Elastic Rock, We'll Talk About It Later, Solar Plexus, Belladonna, Labyrinth, Roots, Under the Sun, Snakehips Etcetera and Alleycat.

The 48-page booklet features the album informations and an essay written by rock journalist Sid Smith. Since the chronological continuum of the albums understandably divides many of them into two discs -- one disc having material from as many as three albums -- at least the booklet could have been slightly more systematically edited; for example the album covers are in many cases placed somewhere else, in the middle of the essay. Also I wish, as usual, that the track lengths were marked. Especially when they vary a lot, it would be good to know whether you're listening to a brief or a 15-minute piece.

In a nutshell, Nucleus played instrumental fusion/jazz-rock in which jazz is the dominant part of the equation. Trumpet, flugelhorn, saxes and flutes are central in the arrangements, but also guitar is often essential. Some of these albums are entirely composed by Ian Carr and some have many composers. Releasing nine albums in five years, what a work ethic Ian Carr had! No wonder that the line-up was under a constant change. The best known albums especially in prog circles are the first two that share the same line-up (e.g. guitarist Chris Spedding and reeds/keys player Karl Jenkins). Elastic Rock is seen as one of the most noteworthy fusion albums all time. Excuse me for not going into album-by-album analysis or into describing music in a more detailed fashion, I'll just pick up some interesting notions. Solar Plexus is, according to Carr's original liner notes, "based on two short themes which are stated at the beginning ('Elements I & II'). The first theme is angular and has a slow, crab-like movement: the second theme is direct, simple and diatonic". There are two shorter pieces exploring both themes, while 'Snakehip's Dream' "tries to fuse both themes". That long piece which Carr had been developing for a whole year was a sort of a musical blueprint for future Nucleus releases.

The Ian Carr album Belladonna features a relatively compact small group of six musicians. For me one of the most interesting albums here is Belladonna's follower Labyrinth (1973), a more "widescreen" work which was inspired by the Greek myth of the the Minotaur. Vocalist Norma Winstone has quite a big role on a couple of tracks. This album also features another celebrated trumpetist, Kenny Wheeler. BTW, drummer Tony Levin is just a name-sake of the famous bassist. Roots (1973) uses the vocals of Joy Yates, to a lesser extent. For the next album Under the Sun (1974) the whole line-up around Carr was changed (e.g. reeds player Bob Bertles, keyboardist Gordon Beck and guitarists Jocelyn Pitchen and Ken Shaw). The two final Vertigo albums albums, Snakehips Etcetera and Alleycat (both 1975) are funkier in style.

Ian Carr's most productive years as a musician ended during the 80's for health reasons. Alzheimer's disease led to his death in 2009. Today he is a notable forefigure for the new British jazz generation. This package of nine albums is a great hommage to his timeless work.

 Elastic Rock by NUCLEUS album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.96 | 144 ratings

BUY
Elastic Rock
Nucleus Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by friso
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Nucleus ' Elastic Rock (1970)

I liked this record at first spin. Obviously you can hear influences from Miles Davis (In a Silent Way, Bitches Brew) and Soft Machine (that warm thick sound). The energy and vibe of the record reminds me a bit of early Colosseum at its jazziest. The rock influences are little, but enough to give the record that warm heavy psych sound. Nucleus has a nixe mixture of composition and improvised solo's of wind and electric guitar, without loosing their musical imagination and ability to offer the listener interesting atmospheres and harmonies. I think that's what makes the record attractive for listeners of progressive rock ' it's full of that adventurous spirit. Moreover, the drumming is exciting throughout. The album showers the listeners with great musical ideas, only to become slightly disjointed in the last three shorter tracks. Still a very consistent record. Artwork on the Akarma vinyl reprint is pure psychedelic bliss. Highly recommended for listeners of jazz-rock en eclectic prog.

 We'll Talk About It Later by NUCLEUS album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.29 | 320 ratings

BUY
We'll Talk About It Later
Nucleus Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars Over all I'd call this an exceptionally good collection of experimental jazz-rock fusion songs with the artists all sounding like they are coming from the jazz world trying to cross over into rock. Though not all of it stands up as being "fresh" since so much J-R Fusion has come since this album's 1971 release, most times it works very well. Definitely a wonderful accomplishment for it's time.

1. "Song For The Bearded Lady" (7:25) upbeat, hard-drivin, great musical weave, great use of horns. At two minutes in the sound calms down to support Ian Carr's soloing. He sounds so much like American jazz great Freddie Hubbard it's uncanny! Background instrumentalists start getting a little frisky in the fourth minute (awesome!) but then Chris Spedding takes a turn in the lead as Karl Jenkins toys with him on the Hohner Electra piano in the opposite channel. in the fifth. Nice contrasting styles. Everybody remerges together for the final minute--an outro to bookend the intro. (14.5/15) 2. "Sun Child" (5:19) opens with some saucy, spacious bass, drums and guitar over which a soprano sax teases seductively. The interplay intensifies insidiously over the first couple minutes until it feels as if each instrument is kind of in their own world. The arrival of Ian's trumpet kind of soothes and shifts the direction and intensity of the collective, creating more space but less "competitiveness." (8.75/10)

3. "Lullaby For A Lonely Child" (4:21) opens with delicate bass, cymbal and electric piano interplay before controlled yet emotional trumpet takes the lead. Support is joined by gently picked guitar and saxes before a little whole-group chorus spaces out the next section of trumpet and bouzouki solos. Intensifies slightly for the second chorus but then bouzouki takes us to the end. Pleasant but nothing to write home about. (8.25/10) 4. "We'll Talk About It Later" (6:19) opens with some raunchier guitar sound accompanied by subdued bass, hi-hat, and Hohner. Accompanying instruments shift into second gear as the song becomes fully blues. Guitars, Hohner, and drums all shift into third and fourth gears as bass and muted trumpet remain rock steady until the second half of the third minute when trumpet takes on a more prominent roll. Has a very DOORS-like quality and sound. Chris Spedding's free-wailing guitar really stands out on this one. (8.5/10)

5. "Oasis" (9:49) opens as if all instrumentalists are in their own world, expressing their own moods, until around 1:50 the keys' chord selection become steady, guitar strums, bass line and cymbal play support this. Horns too, before trumpet goes off on a solo. Guitars, drums and keys start amping up their inputs as Ian continues to solo into the fifth minute. At the end of the fifth minute, Ian goes a little freestyle but then everybody else softens and backs down, making room for a prominent muted soprano sax solo in the sixth, seventh and eighth minutes. Drums begin to go rogue in the seventh and eighth before a calm appears in which Brian Smith continues playing his sax as Chris Spedding and Jeff Clyne's bass take more foreground prominence. Horn section enters to bring everybody together just before the end. (18/20)

6. "Ballad of Joe Pimp" (3:48) Vocals! Sounds like it could come off of an early SOFT MACHINE album. Horns take over after the first verse. A very Philly R&B/Soul feel to this one. (8.5/10) 7. "Easter 1916" (8:47) Sounds like a classic experimental late 1960s experimental jazz fusion song as BRAINTKICKET-like vocals and keys are driven along by blues-rock bass, guitar and drums play. Its a great groove, despite it's odd meter. Melodic jazz sax solo in the third and fourth minutes becomes more free form in the fifth and sixth. Support instrumentation disappear in the seventh minute as drums solo while sax continues it's spitting and spouting. Awesome drum play! Ends with a familiar "Love Supreme" sound and drum solo. (19/20)

Total Time: 45:48

A-/five stars; a minor masterpiece of progressive rock music from the early era of Jazz-Rock Fusion experimentation.

Thanks to Sean Trane for the artist addition. and to dAmOxT7942 for the last updates

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: JazzMusicArchives.com — jazz music reviews and archives | MetalMusicArchives.com — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.