RATINGS: A = must own B = buy it C= average D = yawn F = puke

Jon Lord – Concerto for Group and Orchestra
Eagle Rock Entertainment


Rating: B

The world of music still mourns the loss of Deep Purple organ player Jon Lord. He made his instrument, usually one most famous for church songs, a hard rock and heavy metal powerhouse. No one, not before nor since, will ever be as revered as Jon Lord.

Outside of DP, his crowning achievement was his Concerto for Group and Orchestra. Since 1969, Lord would do all he could to find time to play it. Before his death, he was breathing new life into the three movement musical piece once again.

Lord commented on his composition in May of 2012, “I’ve played it over 30 times with different orchestras and conductors all over the world, and, of course, in 2000 I did it well over 30 times with Purple on the Concerto tour, so I’ve been honing the piece live on stage, and I’ve had the opportunity to change things in the score that weren’t sounding quite right. It is therefore a marvelous and exciting prospect to have the definitive recording of the definitive version of the score.”

The music traveled around, as first Lord recorded the rhythm section and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra in June 2011 in Liverpool. Next, the music made its way to the famous Abbey Road Studio in London to record vocals from Iron Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson and guitarists Darin Vasileve (who played on the 1st Movement), Joe Bonamassa (2nd Movement) and Lord’s band mate Steve Morse (3rd Movement).

Bonamassa, most known as a blues player, is very impressive and shows he has skills way beyond what he has shown in his solo career, or with his band Black Country Communion. Morse was custom made to play this music and when the concerto moves from classical to rock, Steve is all over it, bending notes, playing with blistering speed and clarity and taking things to a new level of guitar musicianship.

Lord did get to approve the final mixes shortly before he passed away. This CD is a very fitting legacy for his musical career. The music is daring and moody, taking the listener on a very unique ride.

By Jeb Wright