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Darryl Way

+ {Wolf} + {Darryl Way’s Wolf}

A founding member of high-profile, London-based prog-rock group CURVED AIR (best-known for sole `Back Street Luv’ hit), the classically-trained electric violinist/keyboardist DARRYL WAY (born 17 December 1948, Taunton, Somerset) took flight in 1972 to form post-prog project, WOLF. Comprising the likes of guitarist John Etheridge, bassist/vocalist Dek Messecar and ex-WALRUS drummer Ian Mosley, DARRYL WAY’S WOLF completed a trilogy of LPs for Deram Records (an offshoot of Decca, incidentally).
1973’s CANIS LUPUS {*7} was an adventurous debut, breaking away from the shackles of his previous outfit. Vocal tracks frequented side one (including CAMEL-esque `The Void’, the softer `Go Down’ and eponymous flop single, `Wolf’), while side two was strictly instrumental, of which `Cadenza’ – very MAHAVISHNU-meets-WAKEMAN – and the lengthier `Chanson Sans Paroles’, showed promise; ex-KING CRIMSON member Ian McDonald guested on the honorary closing cue, `McDonald’s Lament’, a unique fusion of classical and folk.
Also suffixed with bonus A&B sides (including `A Bunch Of Fives’), the aptly-titled follow-up, SATURATION POINT (1973) {*5}, was a little subdued by comparison. However, key tracks such as `Two Sisters’ (another flop 45) and the Hocus-Pocus-FOCUS-like `Game Of X’, stood out from the er… pack. In the meantime, CURVED AIR (with sub Eddie Jobson), completed only one LP without Darryl: 1973’s `Air Cut’.
Supplemented by one-time IF vocalist, John Hodkinson (a man more in-line with jazz-rock), their third and final set, NIGHT MUSIC (1974) {*6}, marked a return to form, opening as it did with `The Envoy’ (think HORSLIPS) and track two, `Black September’ (think 10CC!).
After time spent fronting the band Stark Naked & The Car Thieves, Darryl returned forthwith to CURVED AIR, featuring on 1975’s in-concert `Live’ (recorded late ’74), `Midnight Wire’ (1975) and `Airborne’ (1976). Incidentally, Messecar joined CARAVAN, Etheridge joined SOFT MACHINE and Mosley teamed up with STEVE HACKETT and, eventually, MARILLION.
When CURVED AIR went on a hiatus between ’77 and ’83, Darryl released a solo LP, CONCERTO FOR ELECTRIC VIOLIN (1978) {*5}, while he’d also session for (having contributed to TRACE on 1975’s `Birds’) on JETHRO TULL’s `Heavy Horses’ set and PIERRE MOERLEN’S GONG’s `Expresso II’. Brief liaisons with SONJA KRISTINA’s CURVED AIR in ‘84 and ‘90 were supplemented by the odd library-only release; WAY’s only considered solo/collaboration album was with Opus 20: THE HUMAN CONDITION (1987) {*4}.
From solo set, UNDER THE SOFT {*5}, WAY composed the music for a handful of mediocre films in the early 90s: Rage And Honor (1992), The Finishing Touch (1992), Rage And Honor II: Hostile Takeover (1993) and Sorceress (1995: with Chuck Cirino); in 1996, WAY commissioned his own undertaking, `The Russian Opera’ which, with lyrics by actor Steven Berkoff, was premiered at the Palace Theatre in London.
In 2008, virtuoso violinist Darryl reunited with Sonja Kristina in CURVED AIR, completing re-workings under the `Reborn’ title; he departed for the final time a year later. Since then, there has been three crossover classical-rock solo albums: ULTRA VIOLINS (2013) {*5} – updating his CURVED AIR magnum opus `Vivaldi’ – CHILDREN OF THE COSMOS (2014) {*4} and the new-age/symphonic prog-rock MYTHS, LEGENDS AND TALES (2016) {*5}; check out `Orpheus And The Underworld’ and `The Ice Man’.
© MC Strong 1997/GRD series/MCS-RC // rev-up MCS Mar2016

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