Ian Carr

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For the guitarist, see Ian Carr (guitarist).
Ian Carr
Born (1933-04-21)21 April 1933
Dumfries, Scotland
Died 25 February 2009(2009-02-25) (aged 75)
Genres Jazz, jazz fusion
Occupation(s) Musician, composer, writer, educator
Instruments Trumpet
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[edit]

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[edit]

At the age of seventeen 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 (1963–1969). 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 twelve 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 up on flugelhorn.

Writing and academic career[edit]

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 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 and Carr's students Julian Joseph, Sara Dillon and Nikki Yeoh.


Emcee Five[edit]

  • 1961: Let's Take Five
  • 1962: Bebop from the East Coast

Rendell–Carr Quintet[edit]

  • 1964: Shades of Blue
  • 1965: Live in London
  • 1966: Dusk Fire
  • 1968: Live from the Antibes Jazz Festival (plus 1964 recordings by the Don Rendell Four and Five)
  • 1968: Phase III
  • 1969: Change Is
  • 1969: "Live"

with the New Jazz Orchestra[edit]

  • 1965: Western Reunion
  • 1966: Le Dejeuner sur L'Herbe

with the Joe Harriott / Amancio D'Silva Quartet[edit]

  • 1969: Hum-Dono


  • 1969: Springboard (recorded in 1966)


  • 1972: Belladonna


  • 1970: Elastic Rock
  • 1971: We'll Talk about It Later
  • 1971: Solar Plexus
  • 1973: Labyrinth
  • 1973: Roots
  • 1974: Under the Sun
  • 1975: Snakehips Etcetera
  • 1975: Alleycat
  • 1976: Direct Hits
  • 1977: In Flagranti Delicto
  • 1979: Out of the Long Dark
  • 1980: Awakening
  • 1985: Live at the Theaterhaus
  • 2003: Live in Bremen
  • 2003: The Pretty Redhead
  • 2006: Hemispheres
  • 2006: UK Tour '76

with Don Rendell[edit]

  • 2001: Reunion

As leader and co-leader[edit]

As sideman[edit]



  1. ^ a b Craig Harris, Ian Carr biography allmusic. Retrieved 19 June 2013.
  2. ^ a b c Fordham, John. Obituary: Ian Carr The Guardian. Retrieved 19 June 2013.


  • Roger Farbey, The Music of Ian Carr – A Critical Discography, 2010.
  • Ian Carr, et al., Jazz: the Rough Guide (2nd edition). The Rough Guides, 2000. ISBN 1-85828-528-3

External links[edit]