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Samurai - Samurai CD (album) cover

SAMURAI

Samurai

 

Crossover Prog

3.72 | 46 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

stefro
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Formed from the ashes of the little-known group 'The Web', UK jazz-proggers Samurai completed just the one eponymously-titled debut LP before breaking up, the members eventually gravitating towards different bands to commence their musical careers.

And it's a shame, as this is an excellent piece of early 1970's and very eclectic-sounding prog, featuring a wide assortment of instruments and styles amongst it's jazz-grooves and latin tinges.

Caught somewhere between the 1-album careers of MAINHORSE and BADGER, Samurai's vibe was an eclectic mixture of disparate elements, expertly-woven together across 7 tracks without ever managing to sound quite like anyone else at the time. A multitude of sonic textures present themselves throughout the running time, starting off with the rocky jazz-pomp of 'Saving It Up For So Long' and continuing with the beautiful and breezy flute-led sounds of 'No Rain', a smoky, jazzy track that stands up as probably the best individual piece on a uniquely-individual album.

For many, however, it's the trippy, stop-start mish-mash of the records longest and last track, the swooning 8-minute-plus mini-epic 'As I Dried The Tears Away' that proves to be the most indelible of all the songs on offer, it's stretched-out sections of intertwining horns, flute and guitar combining richy throughout the tricky time-signatures and at-times furious shifts in tempo.

The combination of Winwood-esque vocals, twinkling-keys and world-weary influences really does create a genuinely original sound, and this, augmented with the more prog-orientated rock of the albums mid-section - the riff-tastic 'Give A Little Love', the fluid, funky 'Face In The Mirror' - only goes to emphasise what a tightly-knit and inventive unit this British band were.

Samurai provides the listener with a rich tapestry of musical delights, each song tweaked to fit into the jazz-funk formula, and, crucially, like a lot of jazz-orientated albums, the album doesn't neglect the important guitar-parts which are expertly provided by Tony Edwards.

Dave Lawson, the man behiind the keys, would eventually go on to join Greenslade and thus find a degree of success in a band more suited to his drenching keyboard-style, but the fruits of his early labour have never been as beautifully crafted as they were on this, an album full of fresh-sounding, exciting and eclectic prog, with it's maverick, one-off status only going to enhance the originality on offer.

STEFAN TURNER, LONDON, 2008

stefro | 4/5 |

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