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Jade Warrior - Distant Echoes CD (album) cover


Jade Warrior


Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.72 | 27 ratings

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3 stars After the creative nadir of "At Peace", Jon Field and Tony Duhig took a break in the late 1980s. As they were about to begin recording of a new album in 1990, Duhig suffered a fatal heart attack. After a period of uncertainty, Field regrouped with two recruits and issued the far superior "Breathing the Storm", which, while clearly steadying the ship, lacked the oomph of any self respecting JADE WARRIOR release. A couple of years later the same trio emerged with a chorus line of distinguished guests including ex KING CRIMSON violinist David Cross and accomplished saxophonist Theo Travers for "Distant Echoes". To date, it's the post-Island era JADE WARRIOR album that most closely approximates the all instrumental approach that persistently considered threatening to make them almost famous in the mid to late 1970s.

Chief among the improvements is the more spirited percussion and the added prominence of electric guitar courtesy of Colin Henson. From the outset, with "Evocation" and "Into the Sunlight", you can almost see Tony Duhig smiling with a glass raised, hopefully where landscape, seascape and soundscape meet in the beyond. Apart from the classic sound, Field and company have integrated reputable influences like CAMEL and PAT METHENY. And, though Island had originally signed them rather unfairly to be their rival to "Tubular Bells", it's on the ethereal "Standing Stones" that we finally hear what WARRIOR and OLDFIELD might have sounded like the morning after waking up together, both minimalizing the experience.

By Jon Field's own admission, JADE WARRIOR never quite made the album they had in them, a species of "Lonely Planet" travelogue between one's dreams, where the journey is all, but they tried, how they tried. "Distant Echoes" is arguably one of their most authentic, but it too falls short of illuminating their intrinsic brilliance consistently enough to ascend to the heights afforded so relatively few. That's a flaw I can live with.

kenethlevine | 3/5 |


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