Saturday, March 5, 2011

Curved Air To Play NEARFest 2011

From the NEARFest Staff:

NEARfest is honored to present the iconic British band, Curved Air to the Zoellner stage. The band's history dates to back to early 1968, when drummer Florian Pilkington-Miksa and bassist friend Rob Martin were introduced to guitarist and keyboard virtuoso Francis Monkman. The trio jammed together and played cover tunes at local parties when Francis met Darryl Way. Darryl introduced Francis to a pianist friend named Nick Simon, and along with Florian and Rob, the band Sisyphus was formed. Shortly thereafter Simon left, and Francis began doubling on keyboards and guitar and the group decided a new name was in order and Francis suggested using a shortened version of Terry Riley's composition "A Rainbow in Curved Air." That same year, folk singer Sonja Kristina was performing in the London production of "Hair." The producer, Galt McDermott, had a second play, "Who the Murderer Was," running concurrently in Notting Hill Gate. The pit band for "Murderer..." was Curved Air. It was suggested that Sonja audition as the new singer for the band. The sound came together quickly, and the new group soon became the first British band signed by Warner Brothers.

Their inaugural album, "Air Conditioning," was the first rock picture disc, and included the single "It Happened Today," and the live favorite "Vivaldi." An intriguing blend of electronics, progressive rock, acoustic folk, classical flourishes, and a bit of jazz fusion, the album reached number 8 in the British charts. Curved Air were a truly unique band which synthesized an eclectic blend of musical styles into an instantly identifiable sound. With a storied history and a plethora of esteemed alumni (Eddie Jobson and Stewart Copeland for starters), the band have put their own unique stamp on the progressive world. Curved Air founding members Sonja Kristina and drummer Florian Pilkington-Miksa reformed Curved Air in 2008/09 and have toured internationally, revitalizing the Curved Air legacy with ace guitarist Kit Morgan and bassist Chris Harris, Paul Sax on electric violin and Robert Norton on keyboards. Robert Norton is an exceptional keyboard player, drawing on the original sonic spectrum associated with Curved Air. Paul Sax, master violinist, is a passionate and brave performer very well qualified to step into Darryl's light. He has performed with many bands and is a long-term member of the highly successful alternative street band, The Huckleberries. Guitarist Kit Morgan is a mesmeric and fiery player and bassist Chris Harris is solid with Florian's intricate drums driving the band. Both Paul and Robert toured extensively with Sonja in the '90s with her solo projects Acid Folk and Cloud Ten. The band's hits "Backstreet Luv" and "It Happened Today" are still radio favorites as the band tours around the world, performing their unique style of music to enthusiastic audiences.

When the disappointing news arrived from the Supersister camp, we saw a short list from which to work, Curved Air being at the top of that list. Sonja and the rest of the band were thrilled to be given the opportunity and after a slew of emails and phone calls, the band are keen to perform. NEARfest is grateful and genuinely stirred to present British legends Curved Air, to our Sunday night lineup.

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