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The first official release of the June 1970 Montreux Jazz Festival concert featuring trumpeter Ian Carr’s pioneering Nucleus performing with US vocalist Leon Thomas on a set of Thomas’ repertoire. The collaboration with Thomas is (in Ian Carr's words) a combination of the “rock thing...with the roots of the music”. The set kicks off with "The Creator Has a Master Plan," originally the thirty minute plus opus found on Pharoah Sanders' 1969 album Karma. This version although only half the length in duration, still retains the exquisite warmth of Thomas' unique vocals (complete with his trademark yodelling) and enchanting lyrics. This version also benefits from Chris Spedding's sensitive guitar and Ian Carr's subtle muted trumpet lines. The gentle "Echoes" offers Karl Jenkins the opportunity to shine with elegant oboe solo and "Damn 'Nam (Ain't Going to Viet Nam)" features Chris Spedding's coruscating guitar work, perhaps some of his most feisty playing ever. Thomas' short introduction to "One" is reminiscent of the warm imprecations heard on Cannonball Adderley's Country Preacher Live at Operation Breadbasket. Here Thomas' frenetic wordless vocal gymnastics could easily have been a blueprint for improvising vocal phenomenon Phil Minton. "Chains of Love" has Chris Spedding now on slide guitar, showcasing his prodigious talent on this slow twelve-bar blues; the track incidentally was co-penned by Harry Van Walls and Atlantic Records founder Ahmet Ertegun under the pseudonym A. Nugetre. On the final number of the set, "The Journey" Thomas' imaginative vocals are augmented with an appropriately serpentine oboe solo by Karl Jenkins, now a world famous classical music composer but relatively less known as a jazz composer and musician of great virtuosity, as is witnessed here. (AllAboutJazz)
Leon Thomas - vocals
Ian Carr - trumpet & flugelhorn
Karl Jenkins - oboe & piano
Brian Smith - soprano & tenor sax, flute
Chris Spedding - guitar
Jeff Clyne - bass
John Marshall - drums
Curated, analogue mastered and cut at Gearbox Studio.