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World Music CD Reviews World Fusion

JENNIFER CUTTING'S OCEAN ORCHESTRA

By Paul-Emile Comeau

Ocean: Songs For The Night Sea Journey
SunSign

Songs, compositions and even albums inspired by the sea are common but this concept album by Jennifer Cutting is unique. The album, or "journey," as Cutting refers to it, took seven years and five sea crossings, which would be an especially bad omen if this were a pop music album. The title track is based on a Gustav Holst composition while the actual term "Night Sea Journey" comes from mythologist Joseph Campbell and is meant metaphorically. Cutting, who is known for her work with the New St. George, serves as composer, arranger and director and also plays piano, organ, keyboards and accordions. The vocalists featured include such well-respected singers as Grace Griffith, Maddy Prior and Lisa Moscatiello. A few of the Celtic-tinged tracks have a grandiloquent flavor to them that's comparable to parts of the Titanic soundtrack. The album opens with "Call Of The Siren" and closes with the Postlude's gorgeous "If You Are Near" (with music by J.S. Bach), both tracks featuring the wonderful voice of Polly Bolton. This ambitious album is mostly more interesting than compelling.