Before there was world music, before the age of new-age, and before space
music became a genre unto itself, there was Jade Warrior. Their brand of
sometimes ambient, sometimes frenetic, always elegant, early progressive music
could have been as big as Genesis or Yes. But the quirky nature of their
all-instrumental music relegated them instead to cult status - which was a
criminal waste. This music ought to have been heard everywhere.
Eclectic Discs has remastered Waves - along with the other 3 Island
records - from the original stereo master tapes. The new CD features extensive
liner notes, deluxe slip case packaging, and fully restored artwork - and it is
the first unedited appearance of the album on CD.
Waves is a 45-minute piece, broken into 2 parts to fit the LP format
of its time. It is a meandering piece featuring a variety of instruments to
advance each section, but the most memorable are the clean, simple acoustic
guitar, the soft melodic flutes, and the keyboard atmospheres and piano solos
provided by guest artist and long-time mentor, Steve Winwood. Part I is more
mellow than Part II, and it is the atmosphere and the dynamics that define this
record rather than any clear melody. The structure is very loose, and the result
is a meandering, dreamy piece that takes cues from South American and Oriental
music - and in the middle of part II, some funky pieces run closer to American
jazz than to British prog.
Part II features an intro with birds sounds over tribal drums - it develops
into a soft ambient piece, then works up a strong groove. There are some wild
solos including a few moments of strong guitar work, dominant bass lines and a
powerful synth solos from Winwood - then it settles back into that soothing,
laid-back mood music again and culminates in a whale-song toward the end of
track ... reminding you that the band once declared that the album is dedicated
to "...the last whale".
Waves is really many tracks fused into one long piece - there are no
recurring themes, no reprised sections, and no universal cohesion - it flows
more like a train of thought, a stream of musical consciousness. It will take
you for a long, relaxed ride, and who knows where you'll end up because there's
no road map. You'll be borne along on the tide and the waves will determine your
destination, and you'll love the whale songs as you journey to wherever your
hypnotized consciousness takes you.