CD Review – Torrid Zone

Torrid Zone
Crossroads Quintet
Midwest Crush Music
*****

Torrid Zone was released early last year and is a box set encompassing nine albums recorded by Nucleus and/or Ian Carr in the early to mid-1970s. Their first album, Elastic Rock, the focus of this review, has just celebrated its 50th anniversary, having been recorded in January 1970 and released in March.

Like Miles Davis, trumpeter Ian Carr wanted to incorporate the sounds and rhythms of rock music into the improvisational modern jazz he had been playing. The members of Nucleus were all established musicians and their experience and individuality is evident throughout Elastic Rock, from the opening track, 1916, almost a fanfare over a bedrock of busy percussion, through to the brief but Bacchanalian free-for-all of the closing Persephone’s Jive. Of particular note is the work of Karl Jenkins, whose
electric piano playing produces ‘a fragile, shimmering bell-like sound’, and whose oboe provides a bracingly astringent tone. Readers may be familiar with him as the classical composer of Adiemus and The Armed Man.

– Paul Cooke

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