David Bedford

The Odyssey Live

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The combination of rock and classical elements are heightened on Bedford's musical portrayal of Homer's Odyssey as his multi-layered keyboard work solidly defines the essence of each individual track. Conjuring up mood, compelling rhythmic textures, and elaborate choral arrangements that float above the use of the Hammond organ and the ARP 2600 synthesizer, Bedford with the help of the Queen's College Choir presents a conceptual piece that stays magnificently on course without losing its progressive rock overtones. Mike Oldfield plays guitar on "The Phaeacian Games" and again on "The Sirens" while Andy Summers makes an appearance here as well, contributing his guitar know-how on "Circe's Island" before becoming part of the Police. Even with the utilization of these guitar virtuosos, the emphasis cannot be sidetracked from Bedford's dexterity and excellence as a keyboard player. Throughout these 11 tracks, he summons up the powerful history of Greek lore by customizing his keyboards to dictate the beauty or the fervency of each individual reference. "The Battle in the Hall" is set to a rambunctious pace, while the five inclusions of "Penelope's Shroud" reflects the subtlety of the piano and organ. His employment of such simplistic props as wine glasses, lone gongs, and cymbals don't go unnoticed either, and the welcomed addition of oboes and recorders helps to reinforce a classical ambience in a number of pieces. This album along with 1975's The Ancient Mariner are Bedford's greatest solo achievements, with The Odyssey exhibiting a more progressive environment on the whole.

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