1/ Red Warrior (Jackson) 4.43 2/ Ashes (Jackson) 4.40 3/ Gate To Heaven (Jackson) 5.14 4/ In Every Face (Jackson) 6.06 5/ Elders (Jackson) 13.33 6/ What's Not Said (Jackson) 4.15 7/ Harmolodic Christmas (Jackson) 4.58 Recorded at Sorcerer Sound, Krypton Studios and Platinum Island Studio, New York City Engineer at Sorceror Sound: Jason Corsaro Engineer at Platinum Island and Krypton: Robert Musso Reissue Engineer: Rob McCabe Mixed by Jason Corsaro at Platinum Island Assistant at Platium Island: Oz Fritz Remixed by Sascha Von Oertzen Problem Killer: Ian Linault Produced by Bill Laswell and Ronald Shannon Jackson Reissue Producer: Jim Eigo Executive Producer (reissue): Michael Dorf Mastered at Masterdisk by Howie WeinbergRonald Shannon Jackson: drums; Jef Lee Johnson: guitar; Stevie Salas: guitar; Jack DeSalvo: guitar; Ramon Pooser: bass; Conrad Mathieu: bass.
1990 - Axiom/Island (USA), 314-510 149-1 (Vinyl) 1990 - Axiom/Island (USA), 314-510 149-2 (CD) 2000 - Knit Classics/Knitting Factory Records (USA), KCR-3032 (CD) 2016 - Bill Laswell Bandcamp (digital)Note: The Axiom/Island version does not contain track 7.
On other tracks, Jackson and the guitars move in and out of tempo, periodically locking together rhythmically and then separating to follow different but related paths. Tempo changes within certain pieces are also common. The emotional centerpiece of the CD is the thirteen-minute "Elders," which opens with Jackson blazing, and the guitarists (Steve Salas, Jack Desalvo, Jef Lee Johnson) taking the opportunity to stretch out and do some serious collective fret shredding. Even on this piece, though, the dynamics are turned 'way down midway for some introspective interplay between the two bassists. On the last track, "Harmolodic Christmas," Jackson has more surprises in store, providing a world music adventure with has one of the guitarists switching to mandolin or banjo (uncredited), and Jackson playing a medieval double reed instrument know as a schalmei (also called a shawm). Like other Jackson reissues in the series (at least the ones which I've heard), this one holds up very well, and these reissues should hopefully give Jackson some of the popular recognition he missed the first time around.
Bill Tilland (courtesy of the Motion website)
Forsaking the keyboard and saxophone lineups of many of his Decoding Society bands, composer/drummer Ronald Shannon Jackson uses a three-guitar and two-bass group on Red Warrior, creating a dense musical backdrop for his inspired arrangements. The "stripped down" band configuration is reflected in the loose, jam session feel of the record, which, unlike the earlier, more sonically varied album Decode Yourself, includes a good number of blues-based tracks ("Ashes," "Gates to Heaven," and "In Every Face"). This is not to say Red Warrior is a straightforward record, by any means. As is Jackson's inclination, the mix is expanded with plenty of jazz improvisation, weaves of effects-riddled guitar lines, complex head statements, and, of course, the drummer's pan-stylistic rhythmic support. The album also contains a variety of material, including the "Mahavishnu Orchestra meets Dr. John," New Orleans shuffle blues "Red Warrior" and the sprawling, free-form "Elders." Excellent contributions are made by the entire band, which includes guitarists Jef Lee Johnson, Steve Salas, and Jack DeSalvo and bassists Ramon Pooser and Conrad Mathieu. Red Warrior is just one of several, very impressive releases to be put out in the last two decades by Jackson, who, like contemporary composer Henry Threadgill, has unforgivably been overlooked and unsung all these years.
4 1/2 stars out of 5
Stephen Cook (courtesy of the All Music Guide website)