Ian Carr

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Ian Carr
Born(1933-04-21)21 April 1933
Dumfries, Scotland
Died25 February 2009(2009-02-25) (aged 75)
Genres Jazz, jazz fusion
Occupation(s)Musician, composer, writer, educator
Labels Vertigo
Associated acts Nucleus, United Jazz + Rock Ensemble

Ian Carr (21 April 1933 – 25 February 2009) was a Scottish jazz musician, composer, writer, and educator. Carr performed and recorded with the Rendell-Carr quintet and jazz-rock band Nucleus, and was an associate professor at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. He also wrote biographies of musicians Keith Jarrett and Miles Davis.


Early years

Carr was born in Dumfries, Scotland, the elder brother of Mike Carr. From 1952 to 1956, he attended King's College, now Newcastle University, where he read English Literature, [1] followed by a diploma in education.

Musical career

At the age of 17 Carr started to teach himself trumpet. After university he joined his brother in a Newcastle band, the EmCee Five, from 1960 to 1962, before moving to London, where he became co-leader with Don Rendell of the Rendell–Carr quintet (1963–69). In its six years, the group (including pianist Michael Garrick, bassist Dave Green, and drummer Trevor Tomkins) made five albums for EMI – all of which have been re-issued – and performed internationally. During the 1960s he also played with the New Jazz Orchestra under the direction of Neil Ardley and recorded an album with altoist Joe Harriott.

After leaving the quintet, Carr went on to form the ground-breaking jazz-rock band Nucleus. [2] This led to the release of 12 albums (some under the band's name, some under Carr's), and a successful international career. In their first year Nucleus won first prize at the Montreux Jazz Festival, released their first album, Elastic Rock , and performed at both the Newport Jazz Festival [2] and the Village Gate jazz club. Carr also played with the United Jazz + Rock Ensemble from 1975.

Carr worked as a session musician in non-jazz contexts, with Nico, No-Man, Faultline, and others. He also doubled on flugelhorn.

Writing and academic career

Apart from writing a regular column for the BBC Music Magazine , Carr wrote biographies of the jazz musicians Keith Jarrett and Miles Davis. [2] He was also the co-author of the reference work The Rough Guide to Jazz, which has passed through four editions from 1994 (originally Jazz, The Essential Companion, 1988). In addition he contributed sleeve notes for the albums of other musicians (e.g. Indo-Jazz Fusions by Joe Harriott and John Mayer).

In 1987, he was appointed associate professor at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, [1] where he taught composition and performance, especially improvisation. He was founder of the jazz workshop at the Interchange arts scheme, where pianist Julian Joseph, among others, was one of his students.


Ian Carr died aged 75 on 25 February 2009, having suffered from Alzheimer's disease. A memorial service was held at Golders Green Crematorium in London the following month. In addition to fellow Nucleus member Geoff Castle, speakers at the service included artist Gerald Laing, author, critic and broadcaster Alyn Shipton, Mike Dibb (with whom Carr collaborated on two films on Miles Davis and Keith Jarrett) [3] and Carr's students Julian Joseph, Sara Dillon and Nikki Yeoh.


Emcee Five

Rendell–Carr Quintet

with the New Jazz Orchestra

with the Joe Harriott / Amancio D'Silva Quartet





with Don Rendell

As co-leader

As sideman

with George Russell's Living Time Orchestra


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