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Samurai - Samurai CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

3.69 | 75 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars So, if this band is essentially a continuation of Dave Lawson-era The Web (which recorded the excellent "I Spider" album) with minimal line-up changes and an additional sax/flute player, then we can pretty well figure out what this band is all about: solid, energetic proto- prog with heavily inflicted jazz and R'n'B undertones, moderately related to the Canterbury patterns and an extra psychedelic sensibility. The Web and Samurai were part of this family of art-ridden underground rockers of which The Nice, Procol Harum and Colosseum were also part at the time, reigning supreme on stage while playing to crowds of flower-power hippies who longed for their rock starst to challenge their ears and minds with music that was beyond the definition of pop. Before describing any song from "Samurai", let me start that this is a very solid gem from a year in which prog rock was becoming a mature rock trend and leaving behind the proto approach, but again, keep in mind that Samurai was still comfortable in that grey area where jazz-rock, symphonic prog and psychedelia were equal sources of musical energy. 'Saving It Up For So Long' is quite an extroverted opener, making a nexciting impression of a hybrid of "Daughter Of Time"-era Colosseum and later Cream: the marriage of teh dual saxes and the vibraphone is crucial for the song's general scheme. 'More Rain' moves to a clamer realm, focused on latin-friendly tones that make the band lean somewhat closer to Traffic. 'Maudie James' also bears the Traffic influence in a moderate dose, but thsi time we enjoy a more joyful mood - once again, the dual saxes fill the limelight for most of the time. 'Holy Padlock' ends the album's first half with an appealing swing that may sound similar to early Caravan. This piece also includes an organ solo that makes Lawson related to Tony Kaye (when he really made an effort to shine within the early Yes' framework). 'Give A Little Love' is a mid-tempo rocker designed to enhance the Colosseum connection (not too long before Dave Greenslade and Lawson became the Greenslade founders), while 'Face In The Mirror' shines in its prog-jazz splendor from a contemplative aura. Even if it is slower thatn the preceding song, it is not languid but powerful, with an unusual room for guitarist Tony Edwards to make himself noticed in cooperation with the organ's harmonic developments or alternating positions with the flute flourishes. His Trower-like leads are really great, he should have been given more solos in the Samurai repertoire. The album's last 8+ minutes are occupied by 'As I Dried The Tears Away', a song that completes the band`'s introspective side in a magnificent way. Reiterating the combination of psychedelia, jazz-rock and progressive expansions, all musicians interact in a clever delivery of motifs and nuances. This last half makes the best of this album. And if you get the CD edition, you will be treated with a number of live songs (without the wind players), including two from the "I Spider" album - all performances are tight, which only makes it seem sadder that it already is that Samurai had to be ignored by the industry. Well, it shouldn't be ignored by true prog collectors, since it would make an excellent addition to any prog rock music collection.
Cesar Inca | 4/5 |


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