JADE WARRIOR – Way Of The Sun (Eclectic)

Two years on and the band released ‘Way Of The Sun’, which straight away is a great improvement on ‘Kites’ The opening track ‘Sun Ra’ is a sweeping piece of flute and guitar interplay, and introduces an album with the theme of a day (or century) of life, culture and change around the time of the Spanish conquest of the New World. ‘Sun Child’ features an orchestral arrangement
which makes it sound like a piece of classical music, as does ‘Moontears’, although this time with guitar accompaniment. ‘Heaven Stone’ has some nice guitar picking from Duhig, and with Field’s flute adding to the feel it makes for one of the more accessible tracks on the album. The title track is almost funky, and has some of the best guitar playing on the record, and ‘Carnival’ is as upbeat as you would expect, and some more superb guitar-work. The album ends at sunset, with ‘The Death Of Ra’, a lyrical guitar and flute duet, celebrating the end of the day. Of these two albums I much prefer ‘Way Of The Sun’, as although I can see what the band were trying to get at with ‘Kites’ – a collection of pieces which relaxed the listener and enabled them to really get inside the music – I felt that it was so airy that it just washed over me and left no impression. By basing ‘Way Of The Sun’ on a much more vibrant and exciting concept it gave the band a broader base on which to draw, and so some of these tracks have a jazzy, carnival feel to them, which also gives Tony Duhig a chance to shine on the guitar, which was sadly lacking on ‘Kites’. After ‘Way Of The Sun’ was released the band left Island Records, having fulfilled their four album contract, and Duhig and Field drifted apart. Both still work in the music industry, but the name of Jade Warrior faded from the memory. Field and Duhig did briefly re-unite in 1989, and plans were afoot to reform the band and record some new material, when Duhig suffered a fatal heart attack, thus bringing to a close the story of Jade Warrior. They left some fine music in their wake, and you should check out ‘Jade Warrior’ and ‘Last Autumn’s Dream’ from the first incarnation and ‘Way Of The Sun’ from the Island years.