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Jade Warrior - Released CD (album) cover

RELEASED

Jade Warrior

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.48 | 72 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

stefro
Prog Reviewer
5 stars Jade Warrior produced three highly original albums for the Vertigo label in the early 1970's, mixing elements of folk, Jazz and progressive rock with Japanese, Chinese and other Eastern influences. The line-up consisted of Glyn Havard(vocals, bass), Jon Field(flute, percussion, keyboards) and Tony Duhig(guitar), before 1974 saw Havard depart and the group become an instrumental act after Vertigo dropped them due to poor record sales. The band are best remembered for their first three albums, with 'Released' the highly- prized jewel in their exotic oriental crown. Sandwiched between their mellow, self-titled 1971 debut and 1972's Last Autumn's Dream, 'Released', which also emerged in 1971, found the group adding harder-edged guitars, Jazzier interludes, bluesy melodies and stronger, more confident vocals to their innovative playing style. The group cultivated their trademark soft/loud tonal juxtaposition sound on Released whilst also hinting towards their vocal-free future with the ambitious driving jazz-rock of stand-out track "Baranzibar", an epic 15-minute-plus brew of flutes, horns, keys and cutting guitars that perfectly showcased all that Jade Warrior was about. 'Released' opens with the galloping "Three Horned Dragon King", with Duhig's rough- edged guitar-licks and Havard's brash vocals complimenting the battery of horns that bubble underneath. It's almost a deliberate opposite to the lighter, thinner sound of their eponymous predecessor, the group beefing up their meditative-sound with a heavy dose of earthy rock-guitar tones and manic Bitches Brew-era Miles Davis horns. From here-on in the album switches dramatically between soft, moonlit ballads such as the gorgeous guitar-phaser laced "Bride Of Summer" and faster, rockier numbers such as the bluesy "We Have Reason To Believe", wrapping everything in their singular east-meets- west musical vision. Occasionally some of the material come across as slightly too ponderous, such as the slow-burning, tom-tom led "Minnamoto's Dream" , but the more reflective elements of the album generally compliment the group's rockier side, with multi-layered flute/guitar/percussion instrumentation providing a rich, dense sonic tapestry of moods and styles. After 'Released' the group gave us the more reflective 'Last Autumn's Dream', before disappointing sales figures meant that this short-lived version of Jade Warrior would be no more. After Glyn Havard left, Duhig and Field were given the opportunity to continue under the same name and as a two-piece when Traffic, Blind Faith and Spencer Davis Group alumni Steve Winwood recommended them to Chris Blackwell at Island Records, who promptly signed them up. These instrumental albums of the late 70's/early 80's provided a platform for the 'New Age' musical genre, and their career has carried on well into the 21st century, with 'Now', their latest effort, hitting the music-store shelves in late 2008. However, their true golden period peaked with this wonderfully ambitious 1971 attempt to fuse two separate musical worlds, carving out a small but special corner in the world of Progressive Rock that adhered innovatively to the dimensions of the genre. A true enigma, 'Released' is an album quite unlike any other, mixing Jazz, Blues, Folk and Rock with skill, passion and beautiful precision. STEFAN TURNER, LONDON, 2009
stefro | 5/5 |

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