(4 / 5)
More than five decades ago, in 1964 to be precise, a group of musicians assembled in a UK recording studio to cut what would become a classic track; The Kinks’ timeless, “You Really Got Me”. Aside from the brothers Davies – Ray and Dave – and the rest of the now legendary London band, they brought in a session man for the piano parts. Leicester lad Jon Lord.
Wind forward to 2014 and the place; the iconic Royal Albert Hall in London, every last seat sold out and a who’s who of rock musicians turning out to honour that same Jon Lord, who sadly passed away two years earlier on 16th July 2012, after suffering a pulmonary emobilsm at the age of 71. He had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in July 2011, and had received treatment in the UK and Israel.
John Douglas “Jon” Lord’s father was an amateur sax’ player and encouraged his son to learn an instrument. The sax’ was not for Jon. He studied classical piano from the age of five, and his classical training would have a major impact on the music he would go on to compose and play in his successful career, as a composer, pianist and organist. He attended Wyggeston Grammar School for Boys in Leicester between 1952 and 1959, where he gained O Level passes in French, music and mathematics, participated in amateur dramatics and the school choir alongside his organ and piano studies. One of the masters there at the time was Colin Dexter, who wrote Inspector Morse, and two other famous pupils who attended that school some years before Jon was David and Richard Attenborough. After leaving full time education, Jon worked as a clerk in a solicitor’s office for two years.
His music career shot him to fame as an outrageously talented Hammond organ player, pianist and composer. A pioneer of fusing rock with classical or baroque forms, especially with Deep Purple, as well as Whitesnake, Paice Ashton Lord, The Artwoods and The Flower Pot Men. In 1968, Lord co-founded Deep Purple, and collaborated on most of their best known material. Lord and drummer Ian Paice were the only continuous presence in the band during the period from 1968 to 1976, and when it was re-formed in 1984 until Lord’s retirement from Deep Purple in 2002.
Such was his standing and reputation for his work, on 11th November 2010, he was inducted as an Honorary Fellow of Stevenson College in Edinburgh, Scotland. On 15th July 2011, he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Music degree by the University of Leicester. Lord was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on 8th April 2016 as a member of Deep Purple.
“Windows” is the second album of the new Jon Lord reissue series at earMUSIC. This 2017 reissue was re-mastered from the original stereo mixes at Abbey Road “Gemini Suite”, originally released in 1971 and “Windows” (1974) will be followed by the reissue of “Sarabande” (1976) later in 2017.
With his legendary organ blues-rock sound, Deep Purple’s founder Jon Lord has influenced decades of rock music. His album “Windows”, composed by Jon Lord and German composer and conductor Eberhard Schoener, was recorded live on June 1st, 1974 at the Herkulessaal of the Munich Residenz with the Orchestra of the Munich Chamber Opera conducted by Eberhard Schoener. The star-studded band for this occasion featured Lord’s former bandmates David Coverdale and Glenn Hughes (who both turn in some stunning vocals), and Tony Ashton, Ray Fenwick (reminding me of Frank Zappa style percussion parts) and Pete York.
The album consists of two parts. “Continuo on B.A.C.H” is a realisation of an unfinished fugue by J. S. Bach, which he based on a scale using the notes represented by his own name (B.A.C.H.). Lord and Schoener interpreted and finished it. “Window” is based on the idea of a form of chain poetry called Renga, developed during the 14th century in the Far-East, where a group of poets co-writing would lock themselves away, writing each verse in turn and continue until the finished product emerged. There are three movements of “Renga” here: 1st Movement/”Renga”, 2nd Movement/”Gemini” and 3rd Movement/”Alla Marcia Allegro”. The album has a total running time of 49:03 minutes. It is quite mesmerising stuff.
Back to that heady night in 2014 at the Royal Albert Hall, and the “Celebrating Jon Lord” Sunflower Jam….Four hours of Jon’s music with a stunning list of artists paying homage to their late pal. Including an incredible 45 minute finale by Deep Purple, the Purple Mk III songs played by Ian Paice with Glenn Hughes, together with Iron Maiden´s Bruce Dickinson, Rick Wakeman of Yes fame, Steve Balsamo (who sang in the late Jon Lord band and on his last studio album “Concerto”), members of The Temperance Movement, ex members of Whitesnake Marsden and Moody, and Mr Paul Weller. Deep Purple apparently had just two hours rehearsal the day before the show.
If you are a Jon Lord fan, you’ll dig it, and probably already own the original release. If you are a keyboard player and want to hear genius, this is for you. If you are a composer and need inspiration, go get it. Classical music enthusiast looking for something a tad different; just the thing. For some, it will perhaps be an acquired taste. For those who recognise astounding and audacious, there are just two more words to say: “Good Lord!”
By Jason Parkinson
(1 / 5) ‘Dull Zone’
(2 / 5) ‘OK Zone’
(3 / 5) ‘Decent Zone’
(4 / 5) ‘Super Zone’
(5 / 5) ‘Awesome Zone’