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Founded in 1984 by guitarist/composer Nick Didkovsky, New York City based Doctor Nerve has been terrorizing audiences in the US and abroad with its distinctive blend of avant-garde classical, progressive-rock and modern jazz. On Ereia, the septet along with the Sirius String Quartet to perform a series of works that entails three movements recorded live and in the studio.
Didkovsky's compositional ideologies and/or implementations often defy categorization. The first movement sounds like some bizarre spin on a Country and Western hoe-down, featuring clapping and peppery strings amid a sense of adrenaline induced urgency. Jaunty titles such as "She Look He Spit," "Flesh Comes Out" and "The Thorn Piercing His Coat" might seem a bit morose by design, yet the band and Sirius String Quartet alternate and converge via razor sharp choruses and scathingly emotive motifs.
Throughout, the music contains unorthodox time signatures, incidents of semi-controlled mayhem, boisterous yet shrewdly performed horn charts and sterling improvisational sequences. The twenty-minute second movement, "For Being Nice To The Wrong People," is a live 1997 performance that boasts abstract military march beats, punctual arrangements and heated soloing from trumpeter Rob Henke, woodwind specialist Yves Duboin and others. The third movement possesses multi-layered horn charts, crashing percussion and hybrid classical/prog-rock lines engulfed within intricate patterns that dispel raw energy yet tight and well-organized arrangements. (Didkovsky scored some of these pieces via computer generated software.)
Ereia is delightfully unruly and at times ominous, yet Didkovsky's extremely complex writing and the musicians' synergistic involvement conveys a lucid depiction of the visual, as though they had embarked on some hallucinatory or previously unimaginable adventure.
Track Listing: She Look He Spit; Ereia, in No Mood; Tearing His Head; Flesh Comes Out; For Being Nice to the Wrong People; Far Away Scares Him; He Shares a Little Knife With His Sister; The Thorn Piercing His Coat; A Last the Hand, Shifting.
Personnel: Nick Didkovsky: electric guitar, composer; Greg Anderson: bass; Leo Ciesa: drums; Yves Duboin: soprano sax, flute; Rob Henke: trumpet; Michael Lytle: bass clarinet; Kathleen Supovee: keyboards; Sirius String Quartet: First and Third Movements: Joyce Hammann: violin; Mary Whitaker: violin; Ron Lawrence: viola; Tomas Ulrich: cello; Second Movement: Todd Reynolds: violin; Liz Knowles: violin; Ron Lawrence: viola; Mary Wooten: cello
Years ago now--in Rhodesia--listening to Voice of America with Willis Conover I heard Bunk Johnson play When The Saints Go Marching In, and Billie Holiday sing Don't Explain. I knew then there was no other life for me than jazz.