This is a concept record, based on Greek cutural references, from some of the best British jazz players and composers in 1970.
It's split into three sections, the divides based on the compositons and players based around the group leaders Neil Ardley, Ian Carr and Don Rendell.
Saxophonist Rendell contributes 4 tracks based on Homer's Odyssey, playing calmly and reflectively with his quartet.
Trumpeter Carr's 3 pieces are played by a quintet, who were soon to form Nucleus, and Persephone's Jive is recognisably Nucleus like. However, Wine Dark Lullaby stands out as it beautifully conjures the feel of a boat, bobbing gently on a warm Aegean evening.
Neil Ardley's six pieces, called Greek Variations, are the soul of this disc. Largely orchestrated with strings and a good brass section, this is Ardley at his best. At times, such as in parts of Omonoia and Meteora, he rivals the best work of the great jazz orchestrator, Gil Evans'. He even manages to get Ian Carr to blow like a Sketches of Spain era Miles Davis.
The whole album is well played and just about hangs together throughout. I wish British jazz had tried more of this kind of collaborative themed project as, despite the Gil Evans references, this does sound distinctively and wonderfully British, in the same vain as Stan Tracey's masterpiece Under Milk Wood. If this disc seems expensive, it can be bought much much cheaper on other websites!