Beyond the Notes is a studio album by former Deep Purple keyboard player Jon Lord, released in 2004. It features guest appearances from Frida Lyngstad, Sam Brown, Miller Anderson, Thijs van Leer, Pete York, and Trondheim Soloists.
Organist Jon Lord supposedly left Deep Purple to retire and take it easy, after he’d spent much of his life recording and touring the world with Purple and other artists. But upon his exit from the band, Lord played gigs and issued albums on his own, such as 2004’s Beyond the Notes. The split provided Lord with the opportunity to pursue some unexpected musical avenues, as the album sees a detour into soothing classical music. Gone is the blaring guitar through Marshall stacks and Lord’s overdriven organ rocking back and forth — in its place is the jazzy sound of “Cologne Again” a lovely piano ballad, and the string-heavy album closer, “Music for Miriam.” While it’s not unheard of for a rock musician to take the orchestral plunge, Beyond the Notes is one of the few instances where it works surprisingly well and doesn’t come off as a mere detour.(by Greg Prato)
‘Jon 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 puts it.
But 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.”
Jon Lord 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 and
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 his friend.
“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 better represented.
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.
“I 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.” (by deep-purple.net)
Emilia Amper (nyckel harpe)
Mario Argandona (percussion, drums, background vocals)
Sabine van Baaren (background vocals)
Urs Fuchs (bass)
Michael Heupel (flute)
Matthias Krauss (keyboards)
Thijs van Leer (flute)
Jon Lord (keyboards)
Andy Miles (clarinet)
Paul Shigihara (guitar)
Gerhard Vetter (oboe)
Pete York (drums)
Miller Anderson (vocals on 08.)
Sam Brown (vocals on 03.)
Frida (vocals on 06.)
The Vocaleros (background vocals)
Cologne String Ensemble under the direction of Albert Jung
01. Miles Away 7.42
02. De Profundis 7.22
03. One From The Meadow (8:14)
04. Cologne Again 6.47
05. I’ll Send You A Postcard (Pavane for Tony Ashton) 6.57
06. The Sun Will Shine Again 4.24
07. A Smile When I Shook His Hand (In Memorian George Harrison) 7.31
08. November Calls 5.03
09. The Telemann Experiment 7.08
10. Music For Miriam (Version for String Orchestra) 8.05
All songs composed by Jon Lord. All lyrics by Sam Brown, except “November Calls” by Jon Lord