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Jon Lord - Gemini Suite CD (album) cover

GEMINI SUITE

Jon Lord

 

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3.64 | 51 ratings

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Psychedelic Paul
5 stars British Keyboard wizard JON LORD needs no introduction. Oh Lordy-Lordy, where do we begin with such a legend of the keyboards. He was born in Leicester in 1941, where he studied classical piano from the tender age of five. He moved to London in 1959-60 and joined his first band, The Artwoods, in 1964. Jon Lord is of course best-known for being the co-founder of Deep Purple in 1968, but he's also been a brief member of Whitesnake, Paice-Ashton-Lord & The Flowerpot Men at various times. He also composed the music for the first Live Deep Purple album in 1969, a Symphonic Rock opus recorded with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Jon Lord played on all of Deep Purple's albums from 1968 through to 1998. This album "Gemini Suite" (1971) is Lord's first solo album in a long and illustrious career spanning five decades with ten classically-inspired solo albums to his credit. His most recent album "Concerto for Group and Orchestra" (2012) was released the same year as his untimely death from cancer at the age of 71. "Gemini Suite" consists of six fairly long orchestral pieces of music with a soloist featured on each song, including Ian Paice and Roger Glover of Deep Purple, blues guitarist Albert Lee, and singers Tony Ashton and Yvonne Elliman. The six suites have such imaginative titles as "Guitar", "Piano", "Drums", Vocals", Bass Guitar" & "Organ", but at least you're left in no doubt who the soloist is on each piece of music. Renowned composer Malcolm Arnold conducted The London Symphony Orchestra in this magnum opus of Symphonic Rock.

"Guitar" opens the album in grand triumphant style with the London Symphony Orchestra playing in all of their full symphonic glory and splendour. Guitar legend Albert Lee is the soloist given a chance to showcase his talents here. This uplifting piece of celebratory music alternates magnificently between orchestral parts, solo electric guitar and also the two combined together for some magnificent Symphonic Rock. It's a tremendous 9-minute opening piece designed to impress with the power and the glory of the music. It's orchestral, it's magisterial, and it's worthy of being played in a cathedral. Jon Lord is the powerhouse behind Deep Purple, and this marvellous music is the Deep without the Purple. In other words, it has the Deep driving force and resonance of a Deep Purple number, but without the Purple Hard Rock element. Onwards now to "Piano", where Jon Lord plays his heart out as if his life depends on it, in a stunning piece of musical virtousity. Wow! Can a solo piano really sound that LOUD! Jon Lord displays his classically-trained credentials here with some dextrous keyboard runs, playing both solo and combined with the orchestra. Even a full orchestra can't overwhelm the sound of a piano though when Jon Lord is running rampant on the keyboard. This is where the Lord of the Keyboard really stamps his mark on the album and announces his presence in full bombastic fashion. And now we come to "Drums", and no surprise that this features Ian Paice, the bandmate of Jon Lord in Deep Purple. Obviously, Ian Paice isn't going to let this track go by without embarking on an impressively long 3-minute drum solo to demonstrate why he's one of the most respected drummers in the world. Finally, When the orchestra re-emerges after being awestruck by the pace of Ian Paice's drum solo, the music sounds like a triumphal marching theme, along the lines of what might be heard as an army goes marching off to war. To paraphrase Mr Bachman, Mr Turner & Mr Overdrive though, you ain't heard nothing yet, because along comes Track 4: "Vocals", a glorious symphonic epic, combining the vocal talents of Tony Ashton (of Ashton, Gardner & Dyke fame) and Yvonne Elliman (best known for the song "If I Can't Have You"). This is a full-blown symphonic masterpiece, guaranteed to awe-inspire you with the power and the passion of the music. Another one of Jon Lord's Deep Purple bandmates, Roger Glover, is given the chance to display his virtuosity with the bass guitar on Track 5, which comes as no surprise as this track is titled "Bass Guitar". This leads us on to the sixth and final number, the 12-minute-long epic, "Organ". This marvellous piece of music is epic in every way. Jon Lord's colourful musical feathers are in magnificent plumage here as he demonstrates his prowess on the keyboards in truly dramatic fashion with some stunningly powerful blasts from his Hammond organ, which will be oh-so-familiar to fans of Deep Purple. A glorious and spectacular end to a symphonic extravaganza!

A magnificent masterpiece of Symphonic Rock!

Psychedelic Paul | 5/5 |

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