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JADE WARRIOR

Jade Warrior

Psychedelic/Space Rock


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lor68
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Not the best place to start with their music genre, but anyway it's a good example of their versatility, along with their tribal-like instrumentation and a good creativity too. Nevertheless you can get also an inkling of their talent here, then their fine anthology "Elements" will be partially in the same vein. Of course they will become more mature after this important experience, but this work is already worth checking out, at least!!
Report this review (#3931)
Posted Friday, April 2, 2004 | Review Permalink
Proghead
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars I found their debut to be a bit disjointed and messy. There are some good songs on this album, but there are a lot of mediocre ones as well. As things go, side one (the first five songs) tend to be the best. But I think the album's real low point is "Sundial Song". It starts off pleasant enough, but turns to total crap. To me, I think this was just a mess-up, and their next two albums for Vertigo will be in the same vein, but improvements.
Report this review (#3932)
Posted Sunday, May 2, 2004 | Review Permalink
Cesar Inca
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Jade Warrior was one of those marginal bands in the prog genre that somewhat managed to earn a well reserved respect, for becoming such an influential musical force, despite not responding totaly to the typical niches of the most "consistently" prog acts. Their debut namesake album is a bit too far from their finesse and special magic achieved during their Vrigen years, but still is a recording woth trying. Even then it was obvious that their major interest was expanding their musical vision to the sounds of the Far East, India, the Muslim folklore, Northern Africa, in the context of Anglosaxon psychodelia. The presence of electric guitars and several percussive instruments is notable, elaborating tribal ambiences and bluesy atmospheres - and yet, Field's flute passages find their way to shine a light of their own among this paraphernalia. My favourite tracks are both suites, 'Masai Morning' and 'Dragonfly Day', which contain some somber sounds a-la early Floyd and KC, but never been overwhelming... just so subtle, that it makes you wonder if it is real or just dreamt of while you're listening. The same feeling is provoked by the closing number. 'The Traveler' and 'Slow Ride', on the other hand, are much calmer, taking the road of introspective reflectiveness. Ths sound production is not so good, and I feel that the compositional skills of the band members are yet to be polished, despite their undisputed capability to come up with good ideas (specially, ideas about textures and ambiences). Since I can't use a 3 1/2 rating, and 4 stars feels too high, I'll go for the 3 star.

Report this review (#3933)
Posted Wednesday, May 19, 2004 | Review Permalink
Eetu Pellonpaa
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I bought this album as a youngster only on the basis of its sympathetic cover drawings, and quite hardcore looking players in the band photograph. The shopkeeper warned me that "there aren't any melodies, nor maybe even rhythms on this record", and wasn't disappointed. This was my first psychedelic folk-oriented album I ever listened. A year later the shop referred sold away all of their hippie-infested records and focused only to roots music before 1965 influences, and have not visited there since.

"Traveller" opens the LP with quiet acoustic sounds, which soon reveal a wonderful echoed wall of guitars, crowned with a great, solemn solo guitar. This is a quite short track though, but very beautiful. "Masai Morning" has an African theme in it, and it is quite primitive and minimalist song, but I liked it much as it is very unique and full of powerful emotion. "Windweaver" is then more basic psych folk song, but it has again nice amplified, eastern sounding solo guitar in it. It morphs then to the track "Dragonfly Day" which opens with a marvelous wall of acoustic guitars, where the musicians start to paint wonderful patterns with a flute and singing. There are some more slightly uninteresting tunes in the record also, but then the final track "Sundial Song" is again marvelous, opening calmly, and evolving to more aggressive territories and reaching spiritual climax.

Tough the album has some duller songs on it, I like the better ones quite much. I think this is a very well produced and fine demo of their forthcoming release "Released". On that one also the more basic blues rock numbers work better, as there is a bigger band with horns accompanying the group, this album having only three players on it. I have heard both vinyl and remastered CD version of this first album. I think there was something wrong with the sound of the CD, as some louder parts distorted really unnaturally, ruining the listening experience.

Report this review (#52468)
Posted Thursday, October 20, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars The first work released in 1971 "Jade Warrior". Debut work that promptly takes element of world music. A cold, dazzling atmosphere is wonderful. The style is extremely unique. Music keeps various emotions secret, and sparks the imagination. It is a work where a mutable feeling and the resignation drift. Four stars.Excellent addition to any prog music collection.
Report this review (#61718)
Posted Monday, December 26, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars Well, this album is strange, but unique. There's no many other albums which have the same unique atmosphere. Yes, it's rather raw, especially the guitar, but it fits to the songs and as a whole it works. What's more, I think this album is one of the first world music genre (maybe proto-world). I would like to give it four stars (it's really unusual album and worth from the historical point of view) but I know that this is not the best progrock album in the history, so I give it 3,5.
Report this review (#69544)
Posted Thursday, February 16, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Jade Warrior's self-titled debut album showcases members of the psychedelic July inspired by the mystique of the orient. Despite a few minor flaws of new band finding its niche, its members produced a unique album in the height of early progressive rock acts.

The blend of flute, acoustic guitars, an array of percussion instruments and a distorted guitar present themselves in almost every track along with Glyn Havard's Ian Anderson-like vocals. However, the instrumentation provided by Tony Duhig and Jon Field is most prominent, emphasizing both the soothing and spontaneous qualities of nature. For some the disruptive distorted guitars may seem detrimental to the compositions but their presence is appropriate.

The instrumental highlight of the album is the solo percussion sequences. Each one creates wonderful atmospheres, similar to those performed by the contemporary percussionist Yas-Kaz (albeit fifteen years earlier). The mellow flute, reminiscent of Quintessence's Raja Ram, intertwines well with the percussion and acoustic guitars.

There are a few weaker songs which do disrupt the flow of the album. "Telephone Girl" employs weak lyrics and usually merits a skip although the instrumentation is not particularly weak. "Petunia" and "Prenormal Day at Brighton" have overpowering bass drum blasts which make both songs a difficult listen. Otherwise, every other track is well-constructed, especially the extremely catchy "Psychiatric Sergeant."

Overall, this album may not appeal as it ranges from proto-new age compositions to loud electric guitar work. But for those interested in the development of new age music or oriental influence in western music, this album is a necessary addition. 4.5 out of 5.

Report this review (#88945)
Posted Monday, September 4, 2006 | Review Permalink
ClemofNazareth
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Folk Researcher
3 stars I’ve just started discovering Jade Warrior recently based on a recommendation from another proglodyte, and I find them rather appealing even though I was warned this is not a good representative album to start with. But when discovering new bands in- depth I like to start at the beginning to get a better sense of the band’s roots and how they progressed (or didn’t, as the case may be).

These guys are pretty unusual overall, although there are several fairly obvious influences. The most prominent is seventies Jethro Tull, kind of unavoidable considering there’s only three guys in the band, one of them plays the flute, and another (Glyn Havard) has passingly similar vocals to Ian Anderson. Tull also experimented a bit with odd rhythms, blunt percussion, and disjointed arrangements on some of their mid-seventies work as well, but nowhere near to the extent do these guys. The percussion comes in the form of various Eastern and Latin hand drums and what I think are bells or some sort of tinny hand implements. On most tracks the combination of sounds atop an overall jazz-inspired rhythm works pretty well, although I’m not sure the vocals are really necessary for the most part. The lyrics are spacey and more poetic than concrete in an artsy way that feels contrived much of the time, particularly on the lengthy, spiritual, and otherwise very engaging “Dragonfly Day”.

This CD release seems to have something wrong with the mix, as the flow across the channels is choppy and awkward, especially at the beginning of the album. Otherwise the sound is quite good for the period.

The relative inexperience of these three guys working together and trying to find their sound is apparent in places: on “Petunia” the band varies between a kind of fuzzed-psych guitar sound and a Bad Company-like blues beat that doesn’t quite gel; and on “Telephone Girl” the fuzz guitar with Latin rhythms sounds more like a self-indulgent studio jam session than a deliberate composition.

But overall this is a pretty engaging album, and is well worth the investment of time and money to check out. Once you get past the first three Tullish tracks, the band does a great job of experimenting with many different percussive flavors and layered, multi-disciplined arrangements. This kind of eclectic music could never find a major label today to invest in them, which of course is one of the main problems with the current music industry. Bands like Jade Warrior, when given time to develop a groove, are important to the creative process that makes progressive music such a joy to experience.

So even though I’m only going to give this debut three stars, the fresh approach sets the stage for a string of much stronger releases that would cement these guys firmly in the role of favored-sons of the progressive scene. Like I was warned, this is not the best place to start with the band, but if you listen to this and then graduate to their string of quite beautiful mid-seventies recordings, you will witness the evolution of a sound that is both hard to categorize, and worth seeking out for that very reason.

peace

Report this review (#130432)
Posted Friday, July 27, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars It's interesting to read the variety of opinions about the first Jade Warrior album and Jade Warrior as a band. I often think that people who describe albums such as this one are a bit impatient. What was so special about Jade Warrior is the elemental mix of Tony Duhig's uniques acoustic and electric guitar contributions which are always heavily influenced by BOTH oriental AND rock music. Jon Field's contribution are fantastic flute playing and (a very big part of the Jade Warrior sound) hand drums and tradtional percussion. On the first three albums (all classics) they were joined by Glyn Harvard on vocals and bass (ocassional acoustic guitar). Harvard's voice and his lyrics are essential to Jade Warrior. The combination of these 3 talents created something truly magical.

I understand what the others say about this album sounding disjointed: that's how it first seemed to me. Seemed like if they got a nice mellow groove going the next thing you knew there would be a disturbingly loud intrusion of hand drums that would spoil it. Now, it just seems to me that these are transitions between songs. If you can image the above 3 friends gathering for a loose Sunday afternoon jam session with some rock and rock influence thrown in, well you would have this album. Some soft songs, the rock stuff is a little bit over the top and raw, but there is a really nice flow to the album in general.

Go listen to some samples of this album, then buy it. You might start with any of the first 3 albums, they are all a bit different, but basically cut from the same stone so to speak. I still like Released the best of these three (contains Three Horned Dragon King, Bride of Summer, Water Curtain Cave, and Yellow Eyes which are in my opinion about the best stuff from the first 3 albums), probably followed by Last Autumn's Dream (the most consistent of the 3 and with an awesome Side 2).

The stuff on Island Records (the next 4 Jade Warrior releases) is Field and Duhig taking their musicianship and composition skills to an incredibly high level. They keep the Oriental groove, but Way of the Sun is purely South American and they handle the switch nicely. Waves and Way of the Sun (especially the latter) are virtuousic masterpieces. Way of the Sun displays such musical intelligence it just amazes me, but again if you aren't really focused on the fine points you can miss the whole thing.

So if you are thinking about jumping on the Jade Warrior bandwagon...I encourage you. You are in for hours of listening pleasure.

Report this review (#159776)
Posted Friday, January 25, 2008 | Review Permalink
UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Jade Warrior is the selftitled debut studio album from British psychadelic rock act Jade Warrior. This is not a band I had heard about before reading a review on PA, but I´m very greatful that I read that review and took the time to listen to this album because it´s really unique and different from what I usually listen to.

What you notice first when listening to this album is the lack of a real drummer. Every rythm on this album is created by all sorts of percussion. It´s a real treat IMO and one of the biggests assets in Jade Warrior´s music. The music seems very organic with lots of acoustic guitar and bass, the aformentioned percussion and lots of flute. There are occasional electric guitar parts, but the music is mostly acoustic. The backbone in most songs is simple blues rock and the vocals are also mostly blues rock influenced. There are several more mellow sections throughout the album though and the flute creates a folky mood that leads my thoughts toward early Jethro Tull. In fact I´m sure fans of early Tull will love this album.

Most songs are pretty simple yet greatly enjoyable and I´m left with a big smile on my face after listening to songs like Petunia and Psychiatric Sergeant. Masai Morning and Dragonfly Day is a bit longer than the other songs on the album and the structure of those songs can be considered somewhat progressive.

The musicianship is excellent. I really enjoy the many acoustic blues rock riffs that are the backbone of the songs. Very inventive. The percussion parts from Jon Field needs to be mentioned as well as they are varied and intriguing all the way through the albums playing time. The flute which is also played by Jon Field is also very enjoyable.

The production is excellent. Very organic and pleasant. I can feel my body vibrate with each percussion hit if I turn up the volume on my stereo.

I´m so happy after listening to Jade Warrior. It´s just the kind of album that´s designed to make you happy. I´m also very intrigued by the fact that this is a three man band without a real drummer who is able to create such great music. This is a very deserved 4 star rating and I can´t wait to discover the rest of Jade Warrior´s discography.

Report this review (#187219)
Posted Tuesday, October 28, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars When I first heard this album, my first thought was, where are the drums? But I really like the percussive things going on, it adds to the spacey and trancy feel of the band's sound. Tony Duhig met up with Glyn Havard in Iran, wich may explain the asian influences.

Some Jethro Tullish flute and vocals, and a loads of asian soundscapes. This one is a unique album in the prog/space rock of the seventies.

It's good for meditation without being too new-age. The guitars are sparse but to the point, sometimes heavy rocking.

Especially a must-have for fans of creative soundscapes and percussions. Also fans of Ian Anderson should like this one.

Report this review (#189197)
Posted Friday, November 14, 2008 | Review Permalink
SouthSideoftheSky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Symphonic Team
2 stars A prenormal band!

Here we have the self-titled debut album from Jade Warrior, a unique British band from the 70's that mixed the Rock music of the times with New-Age, Jazz and World-Music influences. The latter are here predominately Latin despite the strongly Asian aesthetic of the cover art sleeve. The music here is occasionally close in nature to that of Santana; bluesy and jazzy guitar-based Rock with lots of Latin percussions. But also some African and Asian sounds and rhythms might be detected and some unique sounds are created. The guitar sound on opener The Traveller, for example, is very distinctive. The first side of the album is promising and it points toward what they would do better on later albums such as Last Autumn's Dream and Floating World. A Prenormal Day At Brighton is a more conventional song with Jethro Tull-like flutes featuring the line "I would like to see some more, but I'm really not sure" (which nicely sums up my reflections after hearing this album). The strongly percussive Masai Morning is a showcase for the group's experimental inclinations and also points towards future similar experiments. Here they sound quite similar to Black Widow on their debut album.

The second half of the album is significantly less interesting, however. Here they seem content to play more conventional Santana-like Jazz-Rock of the kind that would make up the bulk of the disappointing second Jade Warrior album, Released. I think that it is fair to calls this music Proto-Prog rather than anything else as it has a 60's feel to it.

A promising but somewhat premature debut from Jade Warrior. They would do better things later on.

Report this review (#367056)
Posted Wednesday, December 29, 2010 | Review Permalink
Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars By 1971 prog had made it big, to the point where bands were already emerging that showed a heavy influence from the greats of the genre. Jade Warrior was not such a band; from their debut onwards, they would showcase a wonderfully unique sound, taking hard psychedelic rock as the basis and adding a bit of flute, a few jazz elements, and musical ideas sourced from all over the world, making this an early "world music" release - as well as, at points, a early "new age" release with its tranquil, spacey textures.

That said, the album is rather uneven - the least interesting track is probably Psychiatric Sergeant, which is mainly a straight-ahead hard psych song with flute, reminiscent at points of early Jethro Tull. Where the band really shines is where they avoid conventional song structures in favour of creating shimmering, gorgeous walls of sound which the listener can lose themselves in, which they do manage to achieve for most of the album. So, not a perfect album, but definitely a strong debut from a band well worth exploring.

Report this review (#483005)
Posted Friday, July 15, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars "Feel excited but I wanna feel more."

I joined Prog Archives five years ago in order to vote for one of my favorite albums ever, Last Autumn's Dream. Shortly after, I provided a review for the album. It has been my intention to continue with the reviewing in an organized manner ever since then. Scattered reviews are all that I have presented so far, (and thanks to all the readers who have given me positive comments on them), but I am now in a different place, physically and mentally, where I can engage in that long-term project. Out of the ashes of July (whom I have never heard), Tony Duhig and Jon Field unite with Glyn Havard to form Jade Warrior. The musical ideas underlying the band include unusual rhythms inspired by various cultures worldwide, melodicism that often reflects the Far East which inspired the band name, and sudden eruptive dynamics. Unique chord structures and leads, compounded with flute and an emphasis on conga rather than kit drums are also part of what sets this band apart from any others before or since. In the history of music, no one else sounds quite like Jade Warrior. And that is a good thing. Were they better known, we could even identify a particular sound just by stating their name. The music feels like no other. Jade Warrior's first eponymous album opens on a defining moment with The Traveller. Almost everything that identifies the JW sound is found here. Soft guitar chords lead to conga percussion, flute, a grand electric lead, even soft thoughtful vocals. This is followed in the next track, A Prenormal Day At Brighton, by the classic JW explosion. Not that it is jarring or too abrupt. The song itself moves along in what was to become a typical JW song structure. But it is in the third track, the multipart suite titled Masai Morning, that we see the true adventurousness of the band. African-styled percussion, dramatic rather than fully rhythmic, at least at first, and atavistic flute lead way to a fierce electric riff and we are on our journey through the African veldt, full of danger and death. A brief break for some chanting and more drama, returns us to the ferocity mirroring the lion's attack. We then get the mellow Windweaver, even though it has some abrupt blasts of percussive sound. Their unique melodicism comes to play full time here, and it is beautiful. Another multipart suite comes next, Dragonfly Day, the longest track on the album, and it starts with some more of Tony Duhig's signature guitar leads. These leads are not fast solos. Duhig was no shredder or speed demon. His approach to guitar was far more sophisticated than that. Some of Havard's soft vocals come, and we get an engaging mid-tempo section. The lyrics are kind of trippy/hippy, one of the reasons why this band is put into the Psychedelic/Space Rock category. Jon Field provides some nice flute. Like Duhig, he was limited in his speed so he always emphasized mood and melody. You will not have to listen carefully for the moment of the dragonfly's death but you may miss it all the same; the ensuing music is quite pretty. So enough of that pretty stuff. Let's rock. Petunia may be slow but it is rock nonetheless, especially after Duhig comes in with all the subtlety of a bull in a china shop. People generally consider Neil Young as the godfather of grunge, but that is the best word to describe some of Duhig's work. Grunge. Dirty, distorted, and demonic. The song conveys a sultriness that is a little disturbing. For a true rocker though, we have to move on to Telephone Girl who may be Petunia at a later stage in her life, or perhaps her older sister. The mirrored bass/guitar riff is very cool. This is the most straight-forward song on the whole album, but we have to remember that when dealing with Jade Warrior that is a relative term. Psychiatric Sergeant starts in a jazzy manner before it moves into true JW territory, that is, the music they make that is truly unique to them. Still, it never relinquishes its jazziness. The trippiest song comes next, the aptly titled Slow Ride. This is a short instrumental piece that drifts through the ennui of an evening lost most likely to some sort of controlled substance, or maybe alcohol, or possibly exhaustion. Most likely all three. And then we get the final tune, Sundial Song. Arpeggiated harmonics from Duhig's guitar give a moderate grounding to Field's gliding flute. But only for so long. Jade Warrior, for all the softness, is a rock band. Not that they rock fast but when they want to, they rock hard. A new drifting section follows, a variation on the introduction, and we get some tasty guitar. The final, closing moments convey a luminescent sound of sunlight itself gliding through the atmosphere, a fitting conclusion. Jade Warrior is a band whose style and sound is difficult to identify. Even if one song fits neatly into an established category, the next one that comes along will not. It may fit into another nicely but there is no guarantee. You never know what will come next, but it will always sound like nothing other than Jade Warrior. Their entire output fits this description, as do complete albums; even individual songs. The band would move on from this beginning point but all the elements that make Jade Warrior what it is are present here. This is one band that had fulfilled its promise and they have given us what I consider one of the best bodies of recorded music on the planet. If you are not familiar with their sound, this is a good place to start. If you are already familiar with it, there is much here you will recognize, but it won't be the same. It is never the same.

Report this review (#843234)
Posted Tuesday, October 23, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars Jade Warrior is an outstanding and innovative album by a group which was prepared to be really different. Why it gets such relatively mediocre ratings from the Progarchives fraternity/sorority is totally beyond me. Whilst Jade Warrior's second and third albums are really good, it is their first one which is truly stunning. What sets it apart is the blend of Japanese themes, flute solos, progressiveness and a lack of pretentiousness unusual for the period. The best way to experience Jade Warrior is to listen to the album as a whole in one sitting and not to pick and choose tracks. So follow All Music Guide's lead which describes it as a "remarkable" album and just enjoy!
Report this review (#918822)
Posted Monday, February 25, 2013 | Review Permalink
siLLy puPPy
COLLABORATOR
PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
4 stars The seeds of JADE WARRIOR were planted all the way back in the early 60s when Jon Field and Tony Duhig met while working in a factory and discovered they had a mutual interest in jazz and world ethnic music. After several years and experimenting with many different instruments they created a few bands and then moved on and eventually recorded a somewhat popular album under the July moniker. Finally in the year 1970, after adding Glyn Harvard on bass and vocals, John Field who would handle flutes and percussion along with Tony Duhig who handled guitars would buck the trends of the day and create a totally new sort of progressive rock that took ethnic influences in a totally new direction. The newly formed band quickly garnered enough attention to instantly score a deal with Vertigo Records.

The eponymous debut album by JADE WARRIOR pretty much sets a precedent of their entire career, one which presents the listener with a strange plethora of musical ideas often not gelling together in the most cohesive manner but more often than not leaving the listener entertained while always begging the question of "why would they do it like that?" Immediately on the first track this band sets itself apart from the pack. It begins with a nice clean and slow contemplative guitar part that becomes accompanied by a flute and then when the congas kick in throw you off totally. The term JADE WARRIOR supposedly has a Japanese samurai connection and the music does seem to have an Eastern meets Western feel with African and Latin vibes thrown in for good measure. They also utilized a unique combination of blues rock with Santana like percussion instead of traditional blues rock percussion.

After a soft and sweet opening track, it's quite the old switcheroo when on the second track "A Prenormal Day In Brighton" it delves into the 60s psychedelic blues rock scene creating a stark contrast between the first track. As the album continues the songs generally fall into two camps. One is the contemplative mellow and clean tracks that conjure up the exotic ethnic influences infused with a spacier acoustic type of freak folk and the more heavy psych bluesy hard rockers. The down side is that these tracks don't quite gel together as seamlessly as they probably should but on the other hand all of these tracks, no matter how stilted in their juxtapositions are quite enjoyable. It's not like the two styles even alternate. For the most part the slower tracks proceed up to "Telephone Girl" which begins the heavier hard psych rock style with the second track being the exception in the flow of things.

JADE WARRIOR has always been an underdog of sort in the prog world most likely due to their inability to create well flowing deliveries of their music to create a totally satisfying album experience without any stilted feel but i have to admit that i really like many of their albums and this debut release is the perfect place to start as it in a nutshell sums up what JADE WARRIOR's musical vision was from the start. While the next couple of albums focus on the heavy blues rock aspect of their music and beginning with "Floating World" they went for the spacier folky ethnic sounds, this debut has a mixture of both styles sometimes playing hand in hand but most of the time not. One of the most unique albums in 1971 that may not be an all time classic but one that is consistent in quality if not perfectly laid out in presentation.

Report this review (#1596256)
Posted Tuesday, August 9, 2016 | Review Permalink
friso
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Jade Warrior ' st (1971)

One of progressive rock's most remarkable debut albums. Jade Warrior plays nomadic heavy psych with lots of Asian traditional influences (flute, percussions, harmonies). On their debut album I find their mixture of fuzzed up rock and world music folk most appealing. The record sounds inspired, even to the point of not finishing up compositions because of the next beautiful idea. This would bother me on other records, but world music is supposed to be different from western pop ' especially in songs structure. The heavy fuzz guitar sounds a bit too distorted, but it adds to the 'obscure record' feel. The idea behind how the band switches between heavy psych, early Crimsonian balladry and traditional Asian music is hard to grasp, which adds to the atmosphere of listening to an creative outburst of talented musicians. I wouldn't be at all surprised if King Crimson also got some ideas from this record for their gentler passages on 'Larks Tongues in Aspic'.

On the follow-up record 'Released' (1971) Jade Warrior would focus on their brand of Asian folk infused (jazz)rock, before setting course for their trademark 'new age prog' sound. Lovers of that later sound will find this album a bit harsh, but for me 'Jade Warrior' (1971) represents a perfect balance between harmonic beauty, raw power, magical abstraction and a rare sense of originality.

Report this review (#2046485)
Posted Sunday, October 21, 2018 | Review Permalink
4 stars JADE WARRIOR have always been there lurking in the background, like a silent samurai, poised to strike with a new album release. This three-piece British band have been around since 1970 but never quite made it to the "big league", although their exotic melodic prog albums are every bit as good as some of the more well-known prog bands of the time. They emerged from the Psychedelic Rock band, July, who released one self-titled album in 1968. Jade Warrior released seven albums during the proggy 1970's, including:- "Jade Warrior" (1971); "Released" (1971); "Last Autumn's Dream" (1972); "Floating World" (1974); "Waves" (1975); "Kites" (1976); & "Way of the Sun" (1978). They followed that studio album up with the compilation album "Reflections" (1979), released at a time when Jade Warrior were taking a long six year hiatus before coming back with the "Horizen" album in 1984. Jade Warrior's first three albums were released on the Prog-Rock Vertigo label, before switching to Chris Blackwell's Island Records in 1974. In total, the band have recorded fourteen studio albums throughout their long career with their most recent album "NOW" released in 2008. The line-up for this first self-titled album consisted of Jon Field (flutes, percussion); Tony Duhig (guitars); & Glyn Havard (bass, vocals). The album is notable for not including a drummer in this first line-up. Let's step into the mysterious oriental world of Jade Warrior now and check out the album.

Getting the album underway, we're on the move with "The Traveller", opening to the sound of a gentle acoustic guitar and floating flute with a percussionist lightly tapping away on the bongos. The exotic music conjures up images of some faraway land in the mystical east. Wait a minute though - what's this!? Leaping out of nowhere like a sleeping samurai comes a fuzzy electric guitarist with a soaring spacey solo. This is Psychedelic/Space Rock like you've never heard it played before. This is no gentle Japanese tea ceremony in the style of Marlon Brando's "Teahouse of the August Moon". No, this is a soaring sonic nirvana of fuzzy acid guitar, designed to exhilarate and elevate the mind and body into a state of euphoria - and you don't even need any psychedelic substances to get high. All you need is this emotionally elevating music. Floating gently back down to Earth now, comes the Blues-Rock number "A Prenormal Day at Brighton". This song is no laid-back "Bell-Bottom Blues" though. No, this is a spirited, toe-tapping Blues-Rock number with attitude, which is all the more surprising considering Jade Warrior didn't include a drummer in their first line-up. Instead, we have a percussionist pounding away on whatever he can lay his hands on with the fuzzy psychedelic guitarist taking us right back to those halcyon days gone by when hippy guys and gals wore flowers in their hair. We're in deepest darkest Africa for the next song "Masai Morning". It's all very ethnic in the opening with the sound of a floating flute and what sounds like an African tribesman pounding away on the percussion. It sounds like the kind of tribal music you might hear on a wild African safari, or if your budget doesn't quite stretch that far, watching old repeats of "Daktari". First impressions aren't always right though, because the wild guitarist is just waiting in the wings to give us another dynamic burst of some fuzzy guitar riffing. This is energetic ethnic music that's best listened to on a verandah with a glass of jungle juice in your hand as you watch herds of wildebeest galloping across the savannah. Failing that, you could just lie back at night with the lights off and dream of being on safari amid the breath-taking scenery of Kenya, ala Karen Blixen (Meryl Streep) in "Out of Africa". Floating into view now comes "Windweaver", a beautifully laid-back mellow groove with some super soar-away guitar and flute soloing. This is gorgeous music that floats along like a cool gentle breeze. Just lie back and let "Windweaver" weave it's magical spell on you. The music segues nicely into "Dragonfly Day" to close out Side One. It's the longest song on the album at nearly eight minutes long. This is another cool and gentle groove with the ethnic sound of the tom-toms, acoustic guitar and feathery flute carrying us away to some warm and distant far-eastern land. It's psychedelic transcendental music to lay back and meditate to in a passionate "Purple Haze" of sound. The music is very much in the style of that other well-known psychedelic and spiritual band, Quintessence. This music is moody and magnificent!

Moving swiftly along through Side Two now, so as not to get hopelessly bogged down in a long review comes "Petunia", a back-to-basics raw Blues-Rock number, reminding us that this is a British Rock album we're listening to here and not some multi-ethnic tribe of musicians from Asia and Africa. Next on the line is "Telephone Girl", an upbeat and uplifting wild psychedelic guitar groove with the percussionist passionately pounding away on the bongo drums. This is a tribal psychedelic revival that's foot-stompingly good. Next up is the bizarrely-titled "Psychiatric Sergeant", a fluty number which is very reminiscent of Jethro Tull. The flautist is in full-flight on this energetic song, which immediately conjures up an image of Ian Anderson standing on one leg in typical merry minstrel fashion. Next, we're taking a "Slow Ride", a light and delicate acoustic guitar and fluty instrumental melody. This leads us gently into the closing number and the highlight of the album, "Sundial Song". This song is a veritable potpourri of exotic music, opening with a flawless flute and gentle percussion, followed by an aggressive samurai thrust of heavy guitar riffing, and then effortlessly transposing back into a marvellous mellifluous floating wave of sound for the magnificent conclusion.

This stunning debut album from Jade Warrior has it all! It's a spicy multi-ethnic cocktail of exotic instrumentation that's a little bit off the beaten track. If you're in the mood to spice up your life with some exotic and experimental non-western music that's not on the usual tourist trail, then take a psychedelic trip back in time with this superb album of musical exploration. This is a timeless album of intoxicating melodic prog that improves with age, just like a fine vintage wine.

Report this review (#2301744)
Posted Saturday, December 28, 2019 | Review Permalink
kenethlevine
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog-Folk Team
4 stars While the term 'influential' is often code for 'commercial flop that has gained some notoriety with the passage of time', in the case of JADE WARRIOR the acclaim is well earned and deserved. They may be best remembered for their time on Island Records between 1974 and 1978, in which they pioneered a bewitching fusion of world, ambient and new age when all were the Jane Does of popular music. Before this near brush with non-anonymity, they released three albums on Vertigo which have justly attracted a cult of prog fans, even if they only scored the record deal as a 'throw in' along with the band that the label really wanted to sign.

Both Tony Duhig (guitar) and Jon Field (percussion, flute) had known each other for the better part of a decade and worked with other future luminaries like Tom Newman and in pop and psych bands of the 1960s, which allows even their Jade Warrior debut to sidestep accusations of immaturity. Most of what would form the core of their mid 1970s accomplishments was already in evidence here, from the fascination with world music to the appreciation for pastoral folk to a voyeuristic tendency to shock the listener with crude transitions. Apart from the presence of vocalist/bassist Glyn Havard, what's different here, and what was largely bled out by the time the Vertigo had subsided, was a predilection for blues and rock of their day and of by then bygone days. How well they balanced these disparate influences largely dictates my evaluation of this period. In the case of this inaugural work, they did rather well.

Skirting the clear comparisons to what JETHRO TULL and KING CRIMSON were doing at the time, I also note a kinship with some of the early proto prog, at times veering close to a SPRING with far better musicianship and no mellotrons. The perceived whimsy of some of the lyrics and some of the heavier guitar work approximate some of the early Canterbury like EGG. Not surprisingly, I'm a bigger fan of the more pastoral Crimson oriented work like 'The Traveller', 'Windweaver', and 'Dragonfly Day', and even more so the sublime closer 'Sundial Song' with a nod to PETER GREEN's FLEETWOOD MAC in Duhig's liquid lead guitar. Still, if I had to pick a single highlight, it would be the stunning 'Masai Morning', with three equally 'hairs on end' chapters that refute any notion that the Warrior came at its cosmopolitan pretensions dishonorably and should therefore logically choose to die on its sword.

Even the plod rockers plod and rock with dignity and a stylish savvy, spruced up as they are by playful flute, percussions (no drums are credited here) and lead guitar. The lyrics may not be the most inspired, but even on the weakest number, 'Telephone Girl', they are more naive than offensive. My favorite of the up-tempo numbers is 'Psychiatric Sergeant' but they all integrate well into the band's at times schizophrenic vision.

I would not have believed it when I was done hearing and reviewing the Island anthology, but I now can state with the minimal authority vested in me that this inaugural release is a mighty fine way to begin your exploration of a band, and album, that fully earns its cachet.

Report this review (#2342944)
Posted Saturday, March 14, 2020 | Review Permalink
4 stars Awesome worldly music, should be under Indo/raga rock or jazz rock, not psychedelic.

The tracks only have congas(?) and other ethnic percussion for drums. Awesome, well used stuff that fits the music perfectly. The guitar is beautiful and strong, the singer has an amazing voice, the songs mix shorter and lengthier, what's not to love?

What's not to love with this album is the drop in quality from the stellar 5/5 first side to the mediocre second side.

Opening with the tasteful Traveller, you get the soft side of Jade Warrior then Prenormal day at Brighton gives an amazing introduction to Jade Warriors harder aspects. These two tracks then give way to Masai Morning which is fantastic an African (?) infused mini suite. Then Windweaver, so good, so good and it goes right into the also amazing Dragonfly Day.

The second side is just uninspired versions of the first side. Bad melodies, short songs, etc. This album is superb on the first side, but gives way to a mediocre second side, causing the final score to be 4/5.

Report this review (#2575800)
Posted Friday, July 2, 2021 | Review Permalink
4 stars "Jade Warrior" was the name given to those samurai in Japan who were not only interested in the art of war, but also in art and poetry. Tony Duhig, Glyn Havard and Jon Field, all three of whom are very interested in Far Eastern philosophy (which was pretty "in" in the late 1960s and early 1970s), supposedly chose this name because it sets the contrast in their music - harder, edgy rock on the one hand, rather delicate eastern-folkloristic-jazzy sounds on the other. If you listen to their first album from 1971, you have to realize that they chose their name very well.

"Jade Warrior" is an extremely impressive debut with very peculiar, at the time quite unusual and novel music. At first glance, the line-up doesn't make you expect anything special: the three play guitar, bass and percussion, and there is also singing and obviously blowing into a flute. With these rather simple ingredients, the three Brits create a very exotic music, which, according to the definition of the name described at the beginning, places hard and raw next to filigree and floating.

Rough guitar riffs coming from the blues stand next to drawn, voluminous guitar cascades, are combined with echoing or restrained, sometimes jazzy flute interludes, with harp-like guitar tones and a rhythmic combination of bass and a multitude of percussive sounds. Drums are not used, instead Field uses all kinds of drums, cymbals and gongs and a vibraphone, sometimes with alienated effects, Far Eastern, African and Asian hand drums. In addition, the pleasant, feather-light vocals of Havard can be heard. "Light as a feather" is a very appropriate characterization for this music, light as a feather and exotic. Sometimes the tightly interwoven and layered tones of guitars, bass and percussion create a forest of sounds over which the flute jubilates like birdsong.

"Jade Warrior" is a very varied disc with quite peculiar, progressive music, for which I can't really think of a suitable comparison. Even if there is a lot of fluting here, the music hardly reminds me of Jethro Tull (as you often read). There are some more "normal" blues rockers to be heard ("Telephone Girl", "Petunia" or "A Phenomenal Day At Brighton") in which the flute also appears, but these work because of the raw power of the guitars and the exotic Percussion accompaniment very unique and somewhat extraordinary. In short: "Jade Warrior" is a strong and innovative debut by a band that has unfortunately almost been forgotten today, which is highly recommended to everyone who is interested in unusual music from the 70s! Later productions by the band are a lot more sonorous and complex, but this pastoral roughness, which can be found in many pieces here, appeals to me very much.

Report this review (#2588410)
Posted Tuesday, August 24, 2021 | Review Permalink

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