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Tracklist: 1. Three-Horned Dragon King 6:09 2. Eyes On You 3:05 3. Bride of Summer 3:19 4. Water Curtain Cave 6:28 5. Minnamoto's Dream 5:30 6. We Have Reason To Believe 3:50 7. Barazinbar 15:06 8. Yellow Eyes 2:51 All tracks: written, arranged, & produced by Jade Warrior. Line-up: Tony Duhig - electric & acoustic guitars Glyn Haward - bass guitar; vocals Jon Field - percussion Alan Price - drums Dave Connors - saxophones & flute Recorded by Richard Dodd at "Nova Sound" studio, London, UK.
Prologue. "Released" was the second album by Jade Warrior. Having released "Released", the band significantly strengthened its position on the progressive scene and established themselves as one of the major outfits of the genre. Certainly, the quick transformation of Jade Warrior's original stylistics was a wonderful thing, though that is not the point I am going to discuss here. (However, I've just thought that the Summary of this review should be quite unusual.)
The Album. For the last time, I heard this album five years ago (I didn't have it in my collection before), so it was very refreshing to listen to it again. Time has no power over "Released", which, doubtlessly, is a true Classic for the Future. There is only one track on the album, the contents of which aren't rich in progressive ingredients. This is the Rock & Roll-based song We Have Reason To Believe (track 6) where there is only one decent instrumental part, the core of which consists of interplay between solos of saxophone and guitar. All seven of the remaining tracks are outstanding by all means, including progressive ones. Furthermore, all of them are marked with innovative and, often, truly unique ideas. (By the way, a total playing time of these tracks is no less than 43 minutes. Whereas most of the early albums by Jade Warrior are quite short, as you know.) Structurally, though, these seven tracks aren't that uniform, which, certainly, doesn't much matter. To describe them, however, I have to divide them into four parts. (In that way, counting the aforementioned Believe, there are five different categories of songs on "Released".) In my honest opinion, the songs: Three-Horned Dragon King, Eyes On You, and Minnamoto's Dream (1, 2, 5), are the most progressive, intricate, and intriguing pieces of this album. Stylistically, all of them represent a unique blend of Classic Art-Rock, Classic Jazz-Fusion, and progressive Hard Rock. Glyn Haward's (excellent) vocals cover no more than one fourth of each of these songs, so the instrumental arrangements that are present on them are truly large-scaled. The frequent changes of tone, tempo, and mood are typical only for these three songs and one of the two instrumental compositions, Water Curtain Cave (4). Structurally, the basic instrumental arrangements that are developed on each of these four tracks consist of diverse and, often, contrasting interplay between solos and riffs of electric and bass guitars and solos of saxophone and flute. Bride of Summer and Yellow Eyes (3 & 8) are the Classic Art-Rock ballads, both of which were performed without percussion instruments at all. (In other words, a nice 'percussive' pair, Jon Field and Alan Price, didn't play on them. Below, I'll return to these musicians, though.) Various interplay between passages, solos, and rhythms of acoustic guitar and solos of flute and bass guitar form the basic structures of both of the ballads. I know that many of the connoisseurs of the band's creation regard Barazinbar as one of the most impressive instrumental pieces ever created and performed in the history of Rock Music. Really, on Barazinbar, the band presents a great jam, consisting of jazzy, symphonic, Rock-y, and ethnic tunes. All of this rushes to the accompaniment of a highly intensive 'double' drumming, which adds a healthy dose of hypnotism to the overall musical palette of Barazinbar. (In that way, elements of psychedelic music are available on the longest track of the album as well.) Nevertheless, those three songs that I described at first, I find more intricate and, thus, interesting than any other piece of this album. The joint work of percussionist Jon Field and drummer Alan Price is featured on most of the album's compositions and is really amazing. Overall, I find the presence of a 'double percussion power' on this album more justifying than that in the line-up of the fourth reincarnation of King Crimson (1994 to 1998). What's interesting is that the sax solos, most of which have a slight jazzy feel to them, are for the most part high-speed and, sometimes, really wild on "Released". While the solos of flute sound soft throughout the album and they're clearly of a symphonic character. In my view, "Released" is more progressive than any of the other early albums by Jade Warrior thanks in many ways to Dave Connor's unique method of playing brass and woodwind instruments. So I can only regret that the band parted with him shortly after "Released" was released. As for the guitar solos and riffs by Tony Duhig, they're mostly harsh 'n' heavy on this album.
Summary. IMHO, "Released" is the best among those albums by Jade Warrior that they released before signing the "Island" label and one of the five best albums in the band's discography. Of course, "Released" is in My Top-20 list of 1971. I only wonder why none of the 'prog' musicologists called Jade Warrior the Canterbury band after they released "Released". The structures of this album are, ultimately, way closer to those that are typical for classic Canterbury bands (Caravan, Soft Machine, "National North", "Hatfield and the Health", etc) than those of French TV. However, it turned out to be that French TV are, somehow, more "fortunate" than Jade Warrior, since the stylistics of the majority of their albums was labeled just Canterbury by most of the progressive reviewers. While any of this American band's albums has nothing to do with this pseudo style. (In fact, I know that the French TV guys laugh until one cries when reading or hearing any canter-buried stamps using to describe their music.)
VM. June 27, 2002
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