"Jade Warrior was the term used in Japan to describe Samurai who expected to be artists and poets as well as deadly killers. It was chosen by Jon Field and the late Tony Duhig to describe the contrasting and apparently conflicting musical styles they wished to blend."
Such was the reason to name this fascinating band as they did back in 1971. For those not familiar with Jade Warrior, it was the creation at the outset of the 1970's of flautist/percussionist Jon Field and guitarist Tony Duhig, who, along with bassist/vocalist Glyn Havard, put together this very impressive, if a bit dated, mix of hard rock, jazz, psychedelia, and progressive rock. A song like "A Prenormal Day at Brighton" would have not sounded out of place on an early Jethro Tull record, with Field's aggressive flute flying over the distorted chords of Duhig, while Havard's powerful vocals convey the dense lyrics. More of the same can be heard on the near 7-minute "Masai Morning", complete with tribal percussion beats (which would figure more prominently on later releases), heavy, fuzz-toned guitar and bass riffs, colorful flute passages, and lyrics dealing with the mighty king of the jungle, the lion. Tony Duhig's guitar screams with distant yearning on "Windweaver", much like a passionate Jimi Henrix or Ernie Isley, while the band takes a more pensive, proggy/fusion stance on the meditative cut "Dragonfly Day", featuring atmospheric guitar and flute passages. Other highlights include the Tull-ish heavy blues rock of "Telephone Girl", the searing flute/guitar riffs of "Psychiatric Sergeant", or the mix of heavy guitar rock with some psychedelic tapestries on "Sundial Song."
Those who are more familiar with Jade Warrior's later, more meditative, ethnic sounding releases (they are one hard band to categorize!) might find this a surprising change of pace, as the band still had not found their niche as of this debut album. In some ways the sound here is a bit too close to early Jethro Tull, but I don't really think that is a bad thing, as Jade Warrior add a bit more jazz and classical influences to the flute/guitar sound that Tull made so famous, and don't use too many blues references. Bassist Glyn Harvard's voice is very similar to Ian Anderson at times, further cementing the similarity. Nontheless, this is a welcome reissue from one of the most unique bands in the history of progressive music, in their infancy.
1) The Traveller (2:25)
2) A Prenormal Day at Brighton (2:40)
3) Masai Morning-- including
Casting of the Bones, The Hunt, A Ritual of Kings (6:47)
4) Windweaver (3:50)
5) Dragonfly Day-- including
Metamorphosis, Dance of the Sun Spirit, Death (7:47)
6) Petunia (4:45)
7) Telephone Girl (4:50)
8) Psychiatric Sergreant (3:02)
9) Slow Ride (2:30)
10) Sundial Song (4:58)