Reissue, originally released on Vertigo in 1975. Another thrilling funky-prog-jazzy-rock fusion beauty from Ian Carr's Nucleus.
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 lineup of inventive, skilled musicians.
Alleycat was the last Nucleus album recorded for the Vertigo label. It was again meticulously produced by Jon Hiseman and is every bit as sinuous as anything else the group had recorded. As far as riff-laden accidental cop-funk goes, there's so much energy coursing through the music that at times it sounds like a live recording. It's pretty unbeatable. Up-tempo opener "Phaideaux Corner" is a funk-flavored opus with a groove that simply swaggers. This trademark Roger Sutton piece benefits from Trevor Tomkins's percussive expertise and some excellent sax and keyboard soloing. Check out Geoff Castle on squelchy, stabbing Moog duties. Ian Carr's elegantly laidback title track is a lengthy suite of magisterial themes. Typically complex, it still gets you hooked and is just riddled with the funk. Carr builds up his initially "straight" trumpet solo with later use of echo to mesmeric effect. And there's some excellent wah-wah guitar shredding by Ken Shaw, too.
The second side opens with the killer "Splat" and finds Nucleus really ripping it up. A fat, funky bass guitar riff introduces us to the track and stays with us until the end. The often-mangled bass groove is pushed along by rattling drums and percussion, dropping out for some restful moments of spacey calm, and along the way picking up some lengthy keyboard noodling by Castle. "You Can't Be Sure" is a gentle jam with Shaw on 12-string acoustic guitar, together with Carr's muted trumpet and some marvelous fretless work from Sutton. The album closes with Bob Bertles's galloping "Nosegay," written perhaps as a response to some of the faster Mahavishnu Orchestra pieces. It's an example of well-crafted jazz-rock that doesn't compromise any of its jazziness, yet it still very definitely rocks.
Remastered from the original Vertigo master tapes. Mastered by Simon Francis. Cut by Pete Norman.
- Vinyl LP
- Remastered from the Original Vertigo Master Tapes by Simon Francis
- Cut by Pete Norman
|Ian Carr||trumpet, flugelhorn, synthesizer|
|Bob Bertles||alto saxophone, baritone saxophone, soprano saxophone, flute|
|Ken Shaw||electric guitar|
|Geoff Castle||keyboards, Moog|
|Roger Sutton||bass guitar|
|Trevor Tomkins||percussion on "Phaideaux Corner," "Alleycat" & "Splat"|
- Phaideaux Corner
- You Can't Be Sure