Few British jazz musicians have been at the cutting edge of as many movements as Ian Carr. A pioneer bebop player in his youth, a colleague of Eric Burdon and John McLaughlin in the R’n’B explosion of the 60s, co-leader of one of Britain’s most innovative jazz groups – the Rendell-Carr Quintet, a free-jazz colleague of John Stevens and Trevor Watts, and the founding father of jazz rock in the UK, with his band Nucleus, Carr’s musical career alone is truly remarkable, and a one-man history of British jazz in the 60s and 70s. Add to that his work as a member of the United Jazz and Rock Ensemble, and with such distinguished leaders as George Russell, Stan Tracey and Mike Gibbs, and his work as a player seems even more remarkable.
In this full length biography, Alyn Shipton examines the fascinating mix of ingredients that comprise the man and his music, and in the process draws a vivid picture of Carr’s home region, the North-East of England, of National Service, of such literary influences as W. Somerset Maughan, of post-war continental Europe and its Bohemian arts scene, and of the London jazz world from the 1960s onwards. The book shows that jazz does not have to have an American accent to be original and innovative, and to inspire audiences all around the world.