O N L O R D
beyond the notes biography
Lord is addicted to harmony. Leaving Deep Purple meant leaving his best
friends and a life that's "a bubble, a support system", as he himself
putting an end to compromises did a world of good to keyboarder and
composer Jon Lord. His latest album "Beyond The Notes" is the best proof
of this. A free spirit blows through the ten tracks of the album. Pavanes
and pop songs are peopled by musicians from drummer to violinist, from
a rock band to members of a string orchestra. Oriental rhythms pushing
classical melodies forward.
Jon Lord takes things seriously. Until he discovers something that does
make him smile. "I call it 'Jon Lord music'. I think the Americans have
a label for it - they call it 'classical cross-over'. So I'm going to
call it 'crossical class-over'. There's elements of what I love out
of orchestral music and there's elements of what I love out of jazz,
and what I love out
of folk music and rock music. And you throw it all in and that's how
you make the cake and experiment."
If you watch him at work in the studio, you quickly realise: Jon Lord
loves people. He loves the 16 string players of the Trondheim Soloists
just as much as his guitarist Paul Shigihara, keyboarder Matthias Krauss,
bass player Urs Fuchs, and songstress Sabine von Baaren. He is friends
with co-producer Mario Argandona, with songstress Sam Brown, and guest
vocalist Miller Anderson. And of course he's friends with Anni-Frid
Lyngstad. Anni who? Frida. Frida of Abba. Jon Lord wrote "The Sun Will
Shine Again" for the Swedish lady.
"We became friends a few years ago. And once we'd become friends, she
actually asked me if I'd write a song for her. Easier said than done.
When you've got a voice that is that specific and that glorious. So,
I took about three years doing it, and only really found the right song
just a few months ago and played it to her and luckily, she liked it."
is sitting in an easy chair. His long white hair is held by a ponytail
and an equally white beard surrounds his face. The eyes of this humorous
man often wander off, rather bridging time than space. He thinks a lot
about his past, his life - something that also results in "Beyond The
Notes". "A Smile When I Shook His Hand" is his tribute to the late George
Harrison. "George Harrison was a very, very close friend for many years
one of those losses that are really hard to deal with. I miss him a
great deal. The track is about the lightness and happiness I got from
knowing that man."
Tony Ashton is another close friend whose loss Jon Lord had to face
recently. To Jon Lord, this keyboarder, vocalist, and painter was like
a brother. "I'll Send You A Postcard" is Jon's musical memorial for
"Music For Miriam" was written in 1995, the day after the death of Jon
Lord's mother. This spontaneous composition was then performed during
her funeral by a string quartet and was already released on the album
"Pictured Within". Now, Jon Lord has rearranged this beautiful elegy.
In a big orchestral arrangement, his mother's character seems to be
And another track serves coming to terms with the past: "De Profundis",
"DP", treats his separation from Deep Purple. Is music a kind of therapy?
Jon Lord laughs. It certainly is a way to help him make a new start.
Even though it seems easier to him to compose sad songs, Jon Lord hasn't
lost his smile. "Telemann Experiment" is the best example for this:
a serious piece of music at heart, Jon Lord here combines the style
of the German Baroque composer Georg Philipp Telemann (1681-1767) with
a Swedish polka.
The fact that "Beyond The Notes" was recorded in Germany underlines
the artist's wish to tread new, own paths. Instead of working in one
of the halls of fame of British music, Jon Lord chose the Hansa Haus
Studios in Bonn, where he recorded his new album in June and July 2004.
lived down in Munich for a few months toward the end of the 70s. And
I've always enjoyed the country. It seems to have taken me to its heart
in a way that it understands that I'm not 'just' the keyboard player
of Deep Purple, but that I have other musical aspirations outside of
that, and this country seems to have understood that better than most."
But this doesn't mean Jon supports the idea of a European Union, on
the contrary. "I don't want to be a European. I want to be an Englishman.
And that's what the French say: Vive la difference. It's what makes
us special, the difference between us."
When he left Deep Purple, his wife said: "It was high time." But it
isn't Jon Lord's style to be hanging around at home. In October, his
tour starts. And until then he has plenty of things to do. Most of all,
practice the piano. The years spent playing the Hammond organ have slurred
his piano technique.
The tour won't be simple. Including the 16 string players of the Trondheim
Soloists, 25 musicians will be on stage. The focus will be put on the
new songs from "Beyond The Notes", there will also be some of his compositions
from the past 30 years, but no orchestrated versions of Deep Purple-songs.
At least, not this time round.'
August 2004 / Courtesy EMI Records