Monday, May 15, 2006

REVIEW: Ian Carr's Nucleus - In Flagranti Delicto

For my first review I undertook the challenge of reviewing an album and band (Nucleus) that some would say does not belong in the Progressive rock genre at all. Prior to reviewing the music I think it is important to clear the air on the classification of Nucleus and other bands on the periphery of Progressive rock. To me they are just that the periphery of Progressive rock. If Nucleus is just a Jazz band with Prog rock tendencies, I believe our musical taste can transcend the hazy classifications that we have impose to simplify the vast world of music. Worst comes to worst I have recommended or discredited music of another genre (G-D forbid), after all to this day Gentle Giant dislikes the fact that they are classified as a Progressive rock band while most of us consider them the Nucleus of Prog.

The cover design of this album provides us with the type of effort that only rivals “Close to the Edge”. So I would like to go out of my way to commend Heinz Bahr on such a profound design that leaves you lamenting that bit of white in the far-north of the record and what type of criteria the band used to come across such exquisite work. (Please feel free to leave comments on what you think Mr. Bahr is trying to relate)

Now that the confusion has been dealt with lets take a look at Nucleus’ In Flagranti Delicto. This is one of those live recordings where the crowd is respectful to the musicians by being completely non-existent other then a golf clap after the completion of each song and solo that helps remind you that this is indeed a live record. Despite being a live album, do not expect the classics to be featured, these are brand new songs with the exception of Heyday from the Snakehips Etcetera album.

One thing you will notice is that Ian Carr and his band are flawless in execution and are obviously on the same page. The first track titled Gestalt gives you the understanding to why this is now Ian Carr’s Nucleus as his Miles Davis esque trumpet solos is much appreciated in this 11 minute jam. These beautiful solos are a reoccurring theme throughout. Another element that immediately affects the listener is the superb meanderings of the aptly named Werimu Aata Teransiamoa Karataiana’s bass guitar.

Mysteries is really a classic Jazz Fusion jam where certain members of the team takes a solo and then returns to the main tune. If you are expecting solos for the sake of soloing you have come to the wrong place these men solo as if it might be their last. W.A.T.K’s bass solo on this track is awe inspiring from start to finish you will not be disappointed (one of my favorite parts of the album.)

The second half of the record is considerably different from the first half. Gone is the classic Jazz and a welcome to more fusion. It commences with Heyday the most rock oriented, none the less quite enjoyable. It represents the black sheep as it’s a nice break from hardcore jazz and features Geoff Castle who gets a chance to display his skills on the mini moog. For most of the album Castle’s duties are laying a phenomenal under-layer of electric piano in support of those who happen to be soloing. On the second half he is much more in the fore front of the operation.
The title track, In Fligranti Delicto, if you are in the grey this saying is synonymous with “being caught in the act” usually a sexual one (in this case the act of playing music). For example: Paul DiMeglio was In Flagranti Delicto while robbing a record store (in this case not sexual and quite fictional.) This track is both the most interesting listen and the best on the album. It has almost has a Gong feeling straight from the Radio Gnome Trilogy with Smyth and Allen no where to be found.

The music speaks for its self; it is self-evident that this album has both quality and quantity as the musicianship is awesome. This is in no way one of Nucleus’ revolutionary or life changing cuts but it does demonstrate true cohesiveness outside the studio and receives a B or B+ in my book. If you are a fan of Mahavishnu Orchestra or any Jazz oriented progressive rock scheme I would get your hands on this one. Enjoy yourselves.

My Rating 7/10

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