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Nucleus - Under The Sun LP
Be With Records
Reissue, originally released on Vertigo in 1974. Under The Sun is the follow-up to the astonishing Roots and contains yet more absolutely essential Nucleus material. Genius trumpeter and visionary composer Ian Carr was one of the most respected British musicians of his era. In late 1969, following the demise of the Rendell-Carr quintet, and tiring of British jazz, Carr assembled the legendary Nucleus. Under bandleader Carr, Nucleus existed as a fluid line-up of inventive, skilled musicians. Under The Sun opens with the crisp, medium tempo "In Procession". It's a typically inventive Carr track with layers of dramatic, riff-led themes and repeating brass blasts. Bryan Spring's "The Addison Trip" is a moody funk piece, with Kieran White guesting on wordless vocals. Roger Sutton contributes some fine bass guitar on this track, particularly the great solo at around the two-minute mark. The excellently-named cool, jazzy ballad "Pastoral Graffiti" paints bucolic pictures with its mellow sonics, plaintive horns and Bob Bertles's flute. Sutton's superb, bass-driven "New Life" brings a different dynamic. Horns, guitar, and electric piano swirl over the head-nod bass motif and a killer Ken Shaw guitar solo. A false fade out halfway through brings in a new bass riff that's picked up by the whole ensemble as Carr wah-wah noodles over the top. The gorgeous, laidback "A Taste of Sarsaparilla" is exactly that -- closing out the first side with a cute blast of what is to come over on the killer flip. The whole of Under The Sun's second side is a suite of three "Themes" written by Ian Carr. The up-tempo first theme "Sarsaparilla" is comfortably one of Nucleus's best. What would've been a cluttered mess in the hands of most is instead an effortless lesson in clarity and zing. Between Geoff Castle's electric piano solo, the relentless funky drumming and more wild wah-wah trumpet from Carr, Nucleus show you how it's done. The languid groove of second theme "Feast Alfresco" is much more typical of "classic" Nucleus and sounds like something that might've been on Roots. The darker "Rites of Man", the third and final theme, is a slow build to a solid bass and electric piano riff, shored up by some tricky brass. Remastered from the original Vertigo master tapes. Mastered by Simon Francis. Cut by Pete Norman.