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Jade Warrior - Jade Warrior CD (album) cover

JADE WARRIOR

Jade Warrior

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.60 | 113 ratings

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Psychedelic Paul
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.

Psychedelic Paul | 4/5 |

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