Nucleus were a pioneering jazz-rock band from Britain who continued in different forms from 1969 to 1989. In their first year they won first prize at the Montreux Jazz Festival, released the album Elastic Rock, and performed both at the Newport Jazz Festival and the Village Gate jazz club.
They were led by Ian Carr, who had been in the Rendell-Carr Quintet during the mid and late 1960s, and was a respected figure in British jazz for more than forty years. Their jazz-based music evolved from an early sound incorporating elements of progressive and psychedelic rock toward combination with a funkier sound in the mid and late 1970s.
Nucleus' first line-up was frontman and trumpeter Ian Carr, keyboardist/oboist Karl Jenkins, saxophonist/flautist Brian Smith, guitarist Chris Spedding, bassist Jeff Clyne and drummer John Marshall.
By their third album, the band had expanded to include trumpeters Kenny Wheeler and Harry Beckett, saxophonist Tony Roberts, bassist Ron Mathewson, percussionist Chris Karan and Keith Winter on VCS3 synthesizer. Dave MacRae joined soon after for several albums.
Over the years the band has had many members:
Trumpet & flugelhorn: Ian Carr, Kenny Wheeler, Harry Beckett, Chris Batchelor,
Tenor sax, soprano sax, flute: Brian Smith, Bob Bertles, Phil Todd, Tim Whitehead,
Clarinet, bass clarinet, tenor sax: Tony Roberts, Tony Coe,
Baritone sax, oboe, piano, electric piano: Karl Jenkins,
Piano and electric piano: Dave MacRae, Gordon Beck, Geoff Castle,
Guitar: Chris Spedding, Allan Holdsworth, Jocelyn Pitchen, Ray Russell, Ken Shaw, Mark Wood,
Bass guitar: Jeff Clyne, Ron Mathewson, Roy Babbington, Roger Sutton, Billy Kristian, Mo Foster, Rob Burns, Dill Katz, Rob Statham,
Drums: John Marshall, Clive Thacker, Tony Levin, Bryan Spring, Roger Sellers,
Percussion: Chris Karan, Trevor Tomkins, Aureo de Souza, Richard Burgess, Chris Fletcher,
Synthesizer: Keith Winter, Paddy Kingsland, Geoff Castle, Neil Ardley,
Vocals: Norma Winstone, Joy Yates (Mrs. Dave MacRae), Kieran White,
Organ: John Taylor,
In August 2005, a special one-off reincarnation of Nucleus, with old and new members, performed at London's Cargo venue. This was followed on 30 March 2007 by a Nucleus Revisited concert at London's Pizza Express Jazz Club as part of a series of concerts to mark Jazzwise magazine's tenth anniversary. Nucleus Revisited featured, amongst others, Nucleus stalwarts, Geoff Castle, Mark Wood and Tim Whitehead and on trumpet, as at the 2005 Cargo concert, Chris Batchelor. Although Ian Carr did not play due to ill health, he was present at the concert and received a standing ovation. On 4 August 2009, Nucleus Revisited also appeared at Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club in London on a double billing with Michael Garrick's Quartet, as part of their two-week long Brit Jazz Fest.