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Jade Warrior: Way Of The Sun (Remaster)

You know that question that so often arises "Where should I start with.."? Well with Jade Warrior, start here.

Way Of The Sun was the last of the four Island Records LPs, and oddly, those who are intimate with Jade Warrior's music would never start here because of what it isn't. Compared with the other 3 Island releases it wasn't new, it didn't break any new ground, and it didn't even challenge the listener in the same way as the first three did.

So why should newcomers start with Way Of The Sun? Because it neatly summarizes their Island records period, which most critics agree represents the pinnacle of the band's output. It's probably the most diverse of the four Island LPs, arguably the most elegant, and unquestionably, a wonderful all-round listen to both - some of progressive music's formative moments, and an early forerunner of new age music.

Most sections are carried by Tony Duhig's wonderful guitar work and partner Jon Field's flute, Japanese flute and percussion - but guest artists contribute elements like sax, harp, Flugelhorn and congas. The result is graceful, classically-oriented all-instrumental music that threads its way into your consciousness with its wraithlike dynamics and rich, gentle textures. There are occasional flares into jazzy or more energetic sections, but the overall tone is soothing and laid back.

Jade Warrior was originally a four piece outfit, but there was a parting of the ways and after the successful instigation of Steve Winwood, Tony Duhig and Jon Field took a two-piece Jade Warrior to Island for what would become their 'ethereal period'. Duhig passed away in 1992, so sadly, there'll be no reunion of that incarnation of the band.

Duhig and Field were students of oriental musical styles, and like most of their albums, this one is deeply influenced by the Asian percussion style, the emphasis on wind instruments (Field's flute), and the clean elegant sound that borders on minimalism. So it's odd to know that despite that Far Eastern influence Way Of The Sun is a concept piece about pre-conquistador Central America. Besides the song titles, though, the only musical hints are in the Latin rhythms of the title track which sounds like a laid-back Santana piece, and particularly, the upbeat Latino-styled "Carnival". Most of the songs run directly into one another allowing the album flow as a single, consolidated body of work rather than the 9 songs indexed on the CD. "Heaven Stone" features beautiful, mellow melodies by Field, and closing track "Death Of Ra" is probably the standout piece on this too-short 41-minute record, and features some of the softest, prettiest guitar solos of Duhig's career.

So start with Way Of The Sun, go through all four Island releases, then stop - because you've covered the best Jade Warrior ever had to offer. And it's no coincidence that those are the four albums that Eclectic chose to treat to their renowned digital remastering, and to reissue with extensive liner notes, slipcase packaging and wonderfully restored artwork.

This one's a gem.

Track Listing:
1. Sun Ra
2. Sun Child
3. Moontears
4. Heaven Stone
5. Way of the Sun
6. River Song
7. Carnival
8. Dance of the Sun
9. Death of Ra

Added: February 16th 2007
Reviewer: Duncan Glenday
Score:
Related Link: The Label's Web Site
Hits: 2926
Language: english

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