Label: Be With Records
Preorder: Released 26 May 2023
*2023 reissue* Genius trumpeter and visionary composer Ian Carr was one of the most respected British musicians of his era. He was a true pioneer and saw the potential in fusing the worlds of jazz with rock, just as Miles Davis and The Tony Williams Lifetime did in the US. In late 1969, following the demise of the Rendell-Carr quintet, and tiring of British jazz, Carr assembled the legendary Nucleus. Regarding music as a continuous process, Nucleus refused to “recognise rigid boundaries” and worked on delivering what they saw as a “total musical experience”. We can get behind that.
Under bandleader Carr, Nucleus existed as a fluid line-up of inventive, skilled musicians. This constant evolution and revolution was all part of the continuous musical exploration and discovery that took jazz to new levels. And the music has kept relevant. To steal a line from a review of our re-issue of Roots, when it comes to anything Nucleus “it’s basically already hip-hop”
We'll Talk About It Later is arguably Nucleus's best album. Not only that, it's in the top 5 of all fusion albums. By the time Nucleus entered Trident Studios in September 1970 to record Elastic Rock's successor, they had already won a best group award at the Montreux Jazz Festival. Once again presented in a Roger Dean designed die-cut gatefold sleeve it continued to demonstrate the chemistry and interplay that worked so brilliantly on Elastic Rock; Carr's sumptuous trumpet and flügelhorn lines, Karl Jenkins's funk-filled electric keyboards, Chris Spedding's wah-wah guitar, Brian Smith's sax and the rhythmic foundation of drummer John Marshall and bassist Jeff Clyne.
The group work and insane musicianship Nucleus were famed for is in evidence from the off. The intensely funky "Song for the Bearded Lady" is absolute FIRE, blasting out the speakers to leave listeners floored. Counterpoint riffing segues into a spacious groove and a Carr trumpet solo demonstrating the influence of electric Miles from the period. The stop-start funk of "Sun Child" would appeal to Soft Machine devotees whilst the genuinely touching "Lullaby for a Lonely Child" is a lovely downtempo ballad. Featuring an understated, reflective horn line from Carr and Smith and atmospheric, shimmering bouzouki from Spedding, there's an exotic flavour which contributes to the bliss. The ominous, sleazy title track retains a swaggering menace and is not the only track to lend a sort of heavy stoner rock atmosphere. The guitars and bass are deep and low throughout, conjuring heavy psych moments to go with the actual jazz and even funk. To say this album was in conversation with Bitches Brew would not be overstating the sheer brain-frying brilliance.
2023 reissue, 140g vinyl, remastered from the original Vertigo Master Tapes for this edition by Simon Francis, original gatefold die-cut sleeve replicated in fine detail