Legendary 70’s band Jade Warrior is back after a lengthy hiatus, with original member Jon Field assembling a large cast of musicians for this abstract yet intriguing recording. Those of you who remember some of the classic recordings of this band may recall the bands ability to mix new age woodwind and percussion sounds with screaming electric guitar solos, combined with a Far East sensibility. Here, flautist/percussionist Field is joined by stellar guitarist Colin Henson, Dave Sturt on bass, and a long list of musicians that includes David Cross on electric violin. Needless to say, your ears will instantly be taken back in time, although there is much more of a modern jazz feel going on here.
Field’s flute work is as pleasant as always, seeping with melody but always restrained and never over the top. He has a perfect complement in guitarist Henson, whose style differs greatly from deceased guitarist Tony Duhig. Duhig favored a distorted, wah-wah drenched Jimi Hendrix style that bordered on feedback. Henson however, has a very lyrical yet highly technical style, comparable to some of today’s fusion greats like Gambale, Holdsworth, or Henderson. Check out his extended solo on “Into the Sunlight” for some jaw dropping technique. What is a nice addition to the Jade Warrior sound is the fretless bass of Dave Sturt, who adds punchy lead lines on tracks like the atmospheric “Calling the Wind” and the Weather Report inspired “Night of the Shamen.”
In summary, this is a beautiful and rich palate of musical colors. While certainly not for those into heavy music, progressive rock lovers and listeners of new age, ambient and jazz can savor all the lush sounds contained within. Recommended.