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Jon Lord

Beyond The Notes

Review by Larry Toering

By the time of his previous solo album, Jon Lord had not broken away from Deep Purple yet. On this one he had been out of there for a little while, so it's more of an independent from hard rock effort. And make no mistake, this is one of his finest hours in over forty years of recording. Today, Lord is fighting cancer, and I feel a certain responsibility to present him with dignity, as he has been in my ears as long as I can remember. Here, he pulls off a very clever performance of varied classical tunes, with a hint of that old rocker in him, here and there, but you have to be a follower to spot those moments with any detail. Nevertheless, it is a welcome factor on Beyond The Notes, and he shows on this recording, just what he is made of without the restrictions of his rock background. There are somewhere around 20 musicians involved at least here, including close friends, Frida, Miller Anderson, and Sam Brown, all turning in excellent vocal performances. This is a quality album, one that won't ever leave my side. I highly recommend it to any lover of real music. Everything going on here gives it the MSJ prog tag, as it really doesn't fit into any of the other categories as well.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2011  Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Miles Away

Starting off with a lovely string motif, this hits home right away and things are automatically inviting for the rest of these well put together tracks. Notice how everything just swirls with a perfection and grace that only Lord can produce.

De Profundis
This one not only finds Lord in his current element, but it has a few surprises as well. Those surprises are of the retro nature concerning some classic Purple tunes, as he molds a few pieces of some of his favorite mkII material into the arrangement. It's not built around this though, as you can sort of tell it was an added touch, as long as you know what's going on here. This is heavenly. That is all there is to it. 
One From The Meadow
There is a very mellow vibe to this, and it suits the arrangement all the way. While it's not the most exciting thing on here, it doesn't disappoint either. It features a great vocal performance from Sam Brown.
Cologne Again
This is a lot more uplifting, and it rings of a bit of folk in terms of the flavorings. It's a lovely little lighthearted tune, and one I tend to revisit time and again.
I'll Send You A Postcard
There is a real personal feel to most of the tracks here, and this is certainly one of them. You can feel the depth throughout, as if trying to tell someone something.. What? Who knows, but it is what it is, and still very comprehensive for classical music.
The Sun Will Shine Again
This features vocals by none other than his old friend Anni-Frid Lyngstad, otherwise known as Frida, of Abba fame. What a wonderful job she did. This has had me by the throat since it was released, and I always refer back to it in my head for peaceful thinking moments. It's a great number for reflection, and is actually sort of therapeutic, really.
A Smile When I Shook His Hand
This is yet another delightful little gem, with an acoustic feel and a soothing arrangement that tends to vary somewhat without losing its beauty in the process. There is simply no wrong Lord can do at this point. A magnificent performance is provided by all involved.
November Calls
This one also features vocals, this time by the great Miller Anderson, and as usual, he puts in a fabulous performance. Being born in November I can somehow relate to the title here, but so much more to the music within.
The Telemann Experiment
This is a high energy sort of tune, which is all over the place with diversity and just plain interesting ups and downs. It was also a great stage number for the shows Lord played when he toured this album.
Music For Miriam
This is likely one of the more intensely personal tunes, as it's for Lord’s mum, who passed away back in the mid 90s. The emotions are certainly very detectible on this track, which is yet another outstanding piece of work. If there is one thing I know about the music business and its composers, it's that the world can sure use as many Dr. Lord's as possible, and that is something about which I will never change my mind.

 

 
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