Curved Air

Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1 (1970)

- Robin Martin -- bass 

- Francis Monkman -- keyboards, synthesizers, guitar

- Florian Pilkington-Miksa -- drums  

- Darryl Way -- violin, keyboards  


  line up 2 (1970-71)

NEW - Sonja Kristina (aka Sonja Kristina-Linwood)  -- vocals

- Robin Martin -- bass  

- Francis Monkman -- keyboards, synthesizers , guitar

- Florian Pilkington-Miksa -- drums  

- Darryl Way -- violin, keyboards  


  line up 3 (1971-72)

NEW - Ian Eyre -- bass (replaced Robin Martin) 

- Sonja Kristina (aka Sonja Kristina-Linwood)  -- vocals

- Francis Monkman -- keyboards, synthesizers, guitar

- Florian Pilkington-Miksa -- drums  

- Darryl Way -- violin, keyboards  




- Stuart Copeland -- drums, percussion (1975-76)

- Ian Eyre -- bass (replaced Robin Martin) (1971-72)

- Kirby Gregory -- lead guitar (1973-)

- Mike Jacques -- lead guitar (1975-76)

- Eddie Jobson -- keyboards (replaced Francis Monkman)


- Phil Kohn -- bass (1975)

- Sonja Kristina (aka Sonja Kristina-Linwood)  -- vocals


- Robin Martin -- bass (1970)

- Francis Monkman -- keyboards (1970-73)

- John Perry -- bass (replaced Phil Kohn) (1975-)

- Florian Pilkington-Miksa -- drums (1970-73)

- Tony Reeves -- bass (replaced John Perry) (1975-76)

- Alex Richman -- keyboards (replaced Darryl Way


- Jim Russell - drums, percussion (replaced 

  Florian Pilkington-Miksa) (1973)

- Darryl Way -- violin, keyboards (1970-73 and 74-76)

- Mike Wedgewood -- bass, vocals (replaced Ian Eyre)





- 801 (Francis Monkman)

- Armada (Kirby Gregory)

- The Butts Band (Alex Richman)

- Caravan (John Perry and Mike Wedgewood)

- Colosseum (Tony Reeves)

- Stewart Copeland (solo efforts)

- Escape (Sonja Kristina)

- Fat Grapple (Eddie Jobson)

- Kirby Gregory (solo efforts)

- Greenslade (Tony Reeves)

- The Nicky James Band (Mike Wedgewood)

- Jethro Tull (Eddie Jobson)

- Eddie Jobson (solo efforts)

- Sonja Kristina's Escape

- Francis Monkman & The Virtuous-Realiti Band

- The Overlanders (Mike Wedgewood)

- The Police (Stuart Copeland)

- Quantum Jump (John Perry)

- Roxy Music (Eddie Jobson)

- Sky (Francis Monkman)

- Stretch (Kirby Gregory and Jim Russell)

- Tunis (Sonja Kristina)

- U.K. (Eddie Jobson)

- Darryl Way's Wolf (solo efforts)

- Michael Wedgewood (solo efforts)





Genre: progressive

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  Second Album

Company: Warner Brothers

Catalog: WS 1951

Country/State: UK

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: still in shrink wrap; cut out notch along top edge; gatefold sleeve

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 6273

Price: $20.00


The band's debut album generated a ton of attention and good sales in the UK which put a lot of pressure on the band in terms of their sophomore release - 1971's cleverly titled "Second Album".  Released after the first of what would be an ongoing series of personnel changes, the album introduced bassist Ian Eyre replacing Robin Martin.  Blame it on the sophomore jinx, but while the album sold well, critics were uniformly unimpressed, slamming the collection for various perceived flaws.  Personally I'd disagree with most of those criticisms.  First off, call me shallow, but in my book Sonja Kristina's breathy voice was always one of Curved Air's big draws and she was quite impressive throughout this collection.  The album also found the band trying to expand their musical horizons churning out an eclectic mixture of styles that included surprisingly impressive stabs at pop ('You Know') and rock ('Back Street Luv'), as well as side two's more typical classical/progressive-tinged numbers ('Everdance' and 'Piece of Mind'). Perhaps nothing more than happenstance, but the album track listing served to expose different musical outlooks among the band members.  Somewhat of an oversimplification, but largely penned by Kristina and Way, side one featured the set's more rock and commercial numbers, while featured three Francis Monkman numbers, the second side highlighted the band's progressive roots.


"Second Album" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Young Mother   (Darryl Way - Sonja Kristina-Linwood) - 5:55

The opener 'Young Mother' served as a nice showcase for the interactions between Kristina's soaring voice, Francis Monkman's synthesizers, and Darryl Way's violin.  Normally I'm not a big violin-in-rock fan, and while I still have some reservations, on this track the arrangement worked pretty well.  In fact, I'd argue that Way's violin was better than Monkman's goofy, Atari sound effect synthesizers.   rating: *** stars

2.) Back Street Luv     (Darryl Way - Ian Eyre - Sonja Kristina-Linwood) - 3:38

Released as the lead off single, 'Back Street Luv' may have represented the band at their most commercial, but for my two cents, it was also the band at their creative best.  A well deserved UK hit, the song had everything going for it including a great, slightly ominous melody and Kristina's sultry delivery.   For anyone interested, YouTube has a nice clip of the band performing the song:    rating: **** stars   

3.) Jumbo  (Darryl Way - Sonja Kristina-Linwood) - 4:13

While it was one of the band's prettiest ballads, 'Jumbo' had something missing - to my ears it sounded like a car struggling to get into third gear ...  the song never really got going, rather sounded like a piece written for a film score.  It was pretty though ...   rating: *** stars

4.) You Know  (Darryl Way - Sonja Kristina-Linwood) - 4:41

Call me a simpleton, but I've always enjoyed their stabs at more commercial material and it didn't get much more top-40 than 'You Know'.  Built on an instantly catchy fuzz guitar figure and a great chorus, this one would have been as good a choice for a single as 'Back Street Luv'.    rating: **** stars 

5.) Puppets  (Darryl Way - Sonja Kristina-Linwood) - 5:26

'Puppets' is the one track I've never been able to figure out.  Showcasing a strange keyboard and percussion propelled melody, the song sported a pretty enough melody, but Kristina's vocal came off as distant and cool.  Maybe that was the intent ...  Adding to the sense of frustration, just as the song was finally beginning to find an interesting groove (thanks in large part to Eyre's bass line), the song just came to an abrupt and unexpected end.    rating: ** stars


(side 2)

1.) Everdance   (Francis Monkman) - 3:06

One of three Francis Monkman compositions (all found on side two), 'Everdance' found the band returning to a more progressive stance, though without the pomposity that marred much of the competition.  The combination of Kristina's voice, Way's violin and some killer drumming from Florian Pilkington-Miksa kept this one short and focused.   rating: *** stars

2.) Bright Summer's Day '68   (Francis Monkman) - 2:52

With a rollicking melody and some of Monkman's best lead guitar, 'Bright Summer's Day '68' was a surprisingly pop-flavored ditty - well as poppy as you could expect from Monkman.  The band's progressive fan base were probably completely appalled ...   rating: *** stars  

3.) Piece of Mind   (Francis Monkman) - 12:54

Clocking in at almost 13 minutes, 'Piece of Mind' started out with some martial drumming, heavy orchestration, and some of Kristina's dreamiest vocals that made it sound like a slice of atmospheric music written for a film.  From there the tracks twisted and turned through a mixture of symphonic rock and progressive movements that served to give each member an opportunity to showcase their technical virtuosity.  For anyone paying attention, Kristina even recited a brief fragment of T.S. Elliot.  While it took awhile to show itself, the song actually had a fantastic melody that was well worth waiting to find.   rating: *** stars  


As mentioned, the album spun off their biggest commercial single in the form of:














UK pressing

- 1972's 'Back Street Luv' b/w 'Everdance' (Warner Brothers catalog number K-16092)


  US pressing

- 1972's 'Back Street Luv' b/w 'Everdance' (Warner Brothers catalog number 7519)


So here's the executive summary on this one - better than most critics would have you believe and probably a good place for the casual listener, or the merely curious to begin.  Plus you get their biggest commercial hit in the form of 'Back Street Luv'.



Not quite sure what the logic was, but Warner Brothers elected to ditch the original English album cover in favor of an equally bland cover.  In case anyone cared, here's a picture of the English LP.





Genre: progressive

Rating: 2 stars **

Title:  Phantasmagoria

Company: Warner Brothers

Catalog: WS 2628

Country/State: UK

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: --

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 5556

Price: $15.00


Nope, I'm not talking about the well known video game ...   


Warner Brothers promo photo "Phantasmagoria" line-up


I'll readily admit that 1972's "Phantasmagoria" is an album that's always left me with mixed feelings. Musically the set had its share of moments, but it also found the band beginning to split into two factions.  On one side lead singer Sonja Kristina and new bass player Mike Wedgewood (who'd replaced Ian Eyre), were apparently interested in continuing to pursue rock-based material.  Led by keyboardist Francis Monkman and violin player Darryl Way the other contingent wanted to follow a more experimental path.  Those competing musical visions gave their third studio set a somewhat disjointed feel.  So what's this beast sound like?   Call me simplistic, but the album was pretty good when Kristina was involved.  Gifted with one of those mesmerizing crystalline voices that could make even marginal material worth hearing, she accounted for the five album highlights:  


-  Yeah it was inspired by the French revolution and felt a little like you were listening to a high school history lesson, but 'Marie Antoinette' actually rocked out 

- 'Melinda (More or Less)' was one of the prettier things they recorded

- 'Not Quite the Same' showcased an interesting jazzy tinge, but c'mon was the lyric really about beating off?

- the title track had some eclectic lyrics (love to know what it was about) and fantastic backing vocals  

- 'Once a Ghost Always a Ghost' sported a bizarre Caribbean feel, complete with xylophone solo and horn arrangement ...  at least it sounded like they were having a great party in the background.


She also handled vocals on 'Over and Over', but couldn't save it 's cocktail jazz arrangement.  Blame keyboardist Monkman and violinist Way, but the collection quickly went downhill from there.  The pair were clearly mega-talented technicians, but left to their own devices they didn't know how to reign in their avant garde tendencies.  The instrumental 'Cheetah' and large segments of side two were simply plodding and dull, with 'Ultra-Vivaldi' (hey, great idea guys let's try recording a speeded up version of the classic composition) and the seemingly endless atonal 'Whose Should Are You Looking Over Anyway' falling to cringe-worthy levels.  Casual fans should look somewhere else and I can already see the hate mail pouring in from the progressive ranks.


"Phantasmagoria" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Marie Antoinette   (Darryl Way - Sonja Kristina Linwood) - 6:20

2.) Melinda (More or Less)   (Sonja Kristina Linwood) - 3:25

3.) Not Quite the Same   (Darryl Way - Sonja Kristina Linwood) - 3:44

4.) Cheetah (instrumental)   (Darryl Way) - 3:33

5.) Ultra-Vivaldi (instrumental)   (Darryl Way - Francis Monkman) - 2:22


(side 2)
1.) Phantasmagoria   (Francis Monkman) - 3:15

2.) Whose Should Are You Looking Over Anyway (instrumental)   (Francis Monkman) - 3:25

3.) Over and Above   (Francis Monkman) - 8:36

4.) Once a Ghost Always a Ghost   (Francis Monkman - Sonja Kristina Linwood) - 4:25


The band actively toured behind the LP and in the UK it peaked at # 20, though it did nothing in the States.  By the end of the year dreaded artistic differences saw the band fall apart.  Drummer Florian Pilkington-Miksa joined Kiki Dee's touring band (wow talk about a change in musical direction).  Monkman turned to sessions.  Wolf reappeared with a solo career.


YouTube has a couple of Beligian tv performance clips related to the LP:

'Melinda (More or Less)'

'Marie Antoinette'



In case anyone's interest the band have an entertaining website at:




Genre: progressive

Rating: 4 stars ****

Title:  Air Cut

Company: Warner Brothers

Catalog: K45226

Country/State: UK

Grade (cover/record): VG / VG

Comments: minor ring and edge wear; gatefold sleeve

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 5453

Price: $20.00


Four album's into their career Curved Air effectively collapsed.  Original violinist and creative mainstay Darryl Way quit to form Darryl Way's Wolf.  Keyboardist Francis Monkman formed Sky and became an in-demand sessions player and drummer Florian Pilkington-Miksa briefly joined Kiki Dee's touring band (talk about a change in musical orientation) before dropping out of music.   Left as the only original member front woman Sonja Kristina and third generation bassist Mike Wedgewood stayed the course wasting no time recruiting a new band featuring 17 year old keyboard prodigy Eddie Jobson, lead guitarist Kirby Gregory, and drummer Jim Russell.


Produced by Martin Rushent, given it was recorded by what amounted to a brand new band, 1973's "Air Cut" has always struck me as being a surprisingly accomplished release.  While it wasn't their creative or commercial zenith, the set served to showcase the new line ups considerable diversity and there were more than a couple of highlights. Starting out with the rocker 'The Purple Speed Queen' the album wasted no time in showcasing the band's musical muscle - both guitarist Gregory and keyboardist Jobson making their presence known.  While it didn't do a great deal for me the fey ballad 'Elfin Boy' found the group dabbling in what's probably best described as Hobbit-folk (the track was apparently a tribute to Kristina's newborn son).  In contrast 'Metamorphosis' may have been the best thing the band ever recorded.  Clocking in at over ten minutes, the song started out with a classically inspired Jobson piano solo, before Russell kicked in with a martial beat and Gregory and Wedgewood began making some real rock noises.  The track then kicked into high gear with one of Kristina's nicest vocals and more of Jobson's dynamic piano and synthesizers.  I won't bother taking you through the rest of the song's dynamic structure, but it made for the album's standout performance.  In contrast, with a weird dancehall flavor, 'World' was easily the weakest of the five side one selections.  Showcasing Gregory, the instrumental 'Armin' was a short and sweet rocker.  The first and final thirds of 'U.H.F.' featured an atypically commercial track that actually had radio potential.  The mid section slowed the song down, showcasing a beautiful martial melody.  Showcasing Wedgewood on a rare vocal (he also wrote the song), 'Two-Three-Two' was also surprisingly commercial and quite likeable.  This will certainly drive the band's progressive fans crazy, but my pick for the standout track was the final song - 'Easy'.  Propelled by Gregory's crunching guitar and a killer Jobson synth solo, the song's real highlight came in the form of Kristina's vocals.  Here she showed off her sparingly used  'rock chick' vocals.  Anyone who doubted she could handle tougher material need only check this one out.  So all-n-all a pretty impressive 'comeback' with a sound that may disappoint some of the earlier progressive fans, but may surprise and delight people with more conventional tastes (including myself).


"Air Cut" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) The Purple Speed Queen    (Sonja Kristina - Kirby Gregory) - 1:32
2.) Elfin Boy   (Sonja Kristina - Eddie Jobson)  - 4:13
3.) Metamorphosis   (Sonja Kristina - Eddie Jobson) - 10:38
4.) World   (Mike Wedgewood) - 3:43


(side 2)
1.) Armin (instrumental)   (Kirby Gregory - Eddie Jobson - Jim Russell - Mike Wedgewood) - 3:42
2.) U.H.F.    (Kirby Gregory) - 5:07
3.) Two-Three-Two    (Mike Wedgewood) - 4:10
4.) Easy   (
Sonja Kristina - Kirby Gregory)  - 6:40


I'll add a shot of the back cover since I've always thought it was pretty cool:



Naturally the line up proved short-lived.  Shortly after the album was released Jobson left to join Roxy Music (he replaced Brian Eno).  Gregory and Russell left to continue their musical collaboration in the band Stretch, while Wedgewood ended up playing with Caravan.





Genre: progressive

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  Airborne

Company: BTM

Catalog: BTM 1008

Country/State: UK

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: UK pressing

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 5631

Price: $15.00


With singer Sonja Kristina and violinist Darryl Way the only holdovers, 1976's "Airborne" featured what was basically a new band - drummer Stuart Copeland, lead guitarist Mick Jacques, and former Greenslade bassist Tony Reeves.  With the band producing about half of the set themselves and Dennis MacKay responsible for the rest of the material, the results clearly displayed a band in search of an audience.  With all of the members contributing to the writing chores, tracks like 'Desiree' (showcasing a fantastic slide guitar from Jacques), 'Touch of Tequila' and 'Hot & Bothered' found the band largely abandoning their earlier progressive roots in favor of a distinctive AOR-oriented feel.  Even Way's three contributions 'Juno', 'Moonshine' (okay this one came the closest to their classic sound), and 'Dazed' were fairly conventional.  Longtime fans weren't all that thrilled, but powered by Kristina's wonderful voice the results weren't nearly as bad as the reviews would have you believe.  Sure it wasn't anywhere near as innovative as their earlier catalog, but tracks like 'Kids To Blame' and 'Heaven (Never Seemed So Far Away)' showed these guys could actually rock out.  Again, not something longtime fans wanted to hear, but still kind of cool to hear.  Elsewhere 'Broken Lady' and 'Dazed' may have been conventional ballads, but they made for a pair of their prettiest songs.  BTM also tapped the album for an instantly obscure single in the form of: 'Desiree' b/w 'Kids To Blame' (BTM catalog number SBT-103).  




back panel photo


"Airborne" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Desiree    (Mick Jacques - Stuart Copeland - Sonja Kristina) - 

2.) Kids To Blame   (Stuart Copeland - Norma Tager) - 

3.) Broken Lady   (Tony Reeves - Sonja Kristina) - 

4.) Juno   (Darryl Way) - 

5.) Touch of Tequila   (Tony Reeves - Mick Jacques - Sonja Kristina) - 


(side 2)
1.) Moonshine   (Darryl Way) - 

2.) Heaven (Never Seemed So Far Away)   (Stuart Copeland - Lyons) - 

3.) Hot & Bothers   (Mick Jacques - Norma Tager) - 

4.) Dazed   (Darryl Way) - 



Following a final non-LP single 'Baby Please Don't Go' b/w 'Broken Lady' (BTM catalog number SBT 106), the wheels finally fell off.   Way quit and was replaced by former Butts Band keyboardist Alex Richman.  Unfortunately within a matter of months the survivors officially called it quits.


- Copeland married Kristina, joined The Police and subsequently released some intriguing solo albums.


- Kristina released a couple of solo efforts, played with the groups Escape and Tunis.  She has an interesting website at:


- Reeves briefly reformed Greenslade.