The group on this CD is Michael Dunford's Renaissance, formed by the composer-guitarist of the 1970s progressive band, with Stephanie Adlington singing lead and Richard Brown playing keyboards and writing the arrangements. Ocean Gypsy is a partly successful attempt to revive and reconsider the group's '70s sound in an acoustic idiom. The songs will be familiar, a cross-section of classic Renaissance album highlights, including the title track, "Things I Don't Understand (Part 2)," "Young Prince and Princess," "Carpet of the Sun," and "At the Harbour," the latter with its original opening and closing from the music of Claude Debussy. Richard Brown's orchestrations are a little more playful in character and lighter in texture than the originals (mostly by Richard Hewson), and involve fewer instruments, but otherwise don't add enormously to the existing versions. Much more importantly, Adlington has an impressive vocal range but lacks the power that characterized Annie Haslam's singing on this same repertory. The playing is very good, but the whole album, with the possible exceptions of "Young Prince and Princess" and "A Trip to the Fair" -- which benefits from a fine reed solo -- stands in the shadow of the originals.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Bruce Eder