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Bebop Spoken There

More from Jazz Monthly:

Jack Cooke: "...neither Giuffre nor Jim Hall are even adequate jazz musicians, they are technically limited, and more importantly, seem unable to improvise logically" - (Review of a JATP concert. Jazz Monthly May 1960)

Michael James: "...if Ellis [Herb] has merits they are definitely not these [fantastic fire and drive]". - (Review of Herb Ellis Meets Jimmy Giuffre (LP). Jazz Monthly May 1960).

Archives

Today Tuesday October 17

Afternoon
Vieux Carré Jazzmen - Black Bull, 98 Front St., East Boldon NE36 0SG. 1pm. Free. 0191 5365127. 5th of 6 consecutive gigs. 2 mins from East Boldon metro.
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Evening
Charles Gordon (solo piano) - Redwood Bar, Vermont Hotel, Newcastle. 10pm - midnight. Free.
Jam Session - Jazz Café, 25 Pink Lane, Newcastle NE1 5DW. 8pm. Free. James Harrison on piano.
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To the best of our knowledge, details of the above events are correct but may be subject to alteration.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Vinyl Review: Nucleus with Leon Thomas – Live 1970

Leon Thomas (vocals), Ian Carr (trumpet & flugelhorn), Karl Jenkins (oboe & piano), Brian Smith (soprano & tenor saxophones, flute), Chris Spedding (guitar), Jeff Clyne (bass) & John Marshall (drums.)
(Review by Russell).
June 20 1970. The Montreux Jazz Festival. Forty fours years later we have the official release of Nucleus recorded live at one of Europe’s premier summer jazz festivals with American vocalist Leon Thomas. Gearbox Records’ lovingly packaged vinyl recording comes as a gatefold double album with a free download code enclosed for the avid fan.
Ian Carr’s Nucleus represented the UK at the festival and their collaboration with Leon Thomas was nurtured days earlier during a two week residency at Ronnie Scott’s. This album documents one aspect of a turbulent period in cultural/political history. Coltrane was dead, Miles set about capturing the zeitgeist, Leon Thomas sought an alternative to Vietnam and the British jazz-rockers were keen to be in on it all. The days of the Emcee 5 and Don Rendell seemed long ago as Ian Carr ventured into new territory with Nucleus. Miles Davis’ electric period – In a Silent Way, Bitches Brew, On the Corner – signalled a parting of the ways for many of his most ardent fans from the 50s and 60s. One fan, Ian Carr, went with him on the journey.
Much of the material on Live 1970 is reworked from Leon Thomas’ earlier recordings as a leader and with Pharoah Sanders. Thomas’ vocal style is an amalgam of American scat and Alpine yodelling (apposite given the location!). The band sound is that of a Coltrane vibe (Ascension, A Love Supreme) shifting gear to encompass the angry protestations of a burgeoning global movement to a committed take on the blues. The first of four sides is a one-track affair (all 18 minutes, 54 seconds); The Creator Has a Master Plan is Thomas’ jointly composed piece with Sanders (John McLaughlin and Carlos Santana were to mine a similar seam with Love, Devotion, Surrender).The British sextet on the recording are up to the mark as they lay down the groove; bassist Jeff Clyne and drummer  John Marshall perform admirably throughout although at times the sound quality doesn’t do Clyne any favours. Karl Jenkins’ oboe features on Echoes (the first of two tracks on side two) and a contrasting contribution is heard from Carr’s flugelhorn. In stark contrast Thomas’ Damn ‘Nam (Ain’t Going to Vietnam) is one angry piece of music. Thomas’ vocal defies the US foreign policy of the times; if Cassius Clay could go to prison, so would he. His stance is reaffirmed by a raging Chris Spedding. Thomas’ One hears the vocalist scatting full-on (a no-holds-barred performance, perhaps an acquired taste, the Montreux crowd adoring of it) and Brian Smith’s soprano work catches the ear. Chains of Love (a hit in the fifties for Big Joe Turner) is the atypical cut; excellent, no nonsense blues singing with a fine r ‘n’ b backing band!
Side four is taken up with The Journey (12 minutes, 5 seconds). This is a reprise of Leon Thomas’ spiritual compositions of the time. Live 1970 is essential listening for those who heard Nucleus first time round and indeed for the student of the genre.
Russell.
Nucleus with Leon Thomas – Live 1970 (Gearbox Records GB1529) is available now. 

1 comment :

  1. Hi Lance,

    This record does take me back. I saw Nucleus perform both separately and then with Leon Thomas at Montreux in 1970 and it certainly was terrific being there in person. Nucleus won the top award at the Montreux Jazz Festival that year which I believe was a trip to the Newport Jazz Festival.

    Best regards

    Harry Monty

    ReplyDelete

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About this blog - contact details.

Bebop Spoken Here -- Here, being the north-east of England -- centred in the blues heartland of Newcastle and reaching down to the Tees Delta and looking upwards to the Land of the Kilt.
Not a very original title, I know; not even an accurate one as my taste, whilst centred around the music of Bird and Diz, extends in many directions and I listen to everything from King Oliver to Chick Corea and beyond. Not forgetting the Great American Songbook the contents of which has provided the inspiration for much great jazz and quality popular singing for round about a century.
The idea of this blog is for you to share your thoughts and pass on your comments on discs, gigs, jazz - music in general. If you've been to a gig/concert or heard a CD that knocked you sideways please share your views with us. Tell us about your favourites, your memories, your dislikes.
Lance (Who wishes it to be known that he is not responsible for postings other than his own and that he's not always responsible for them.)
Contact: lanceliddle@gmail.com I look forward to hearing from you.

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