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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Jon Lord

Sarabande

Review by Larry Toering

At the moment there is much to be said on behalf of  Jon Lord, who recently earned an honorary degree, has been very busy recording and playing live since leaving Deep Purple at the turn of the century. As I write this he is fighting for his life against cancer, so the support for one of our heroes is in order. He has been around since the beginning and played with all of the greats, from McCartney and Harrison, to Hendrix and Blackmore, to Wakeman and Satriani - the list is endless. He is as good as they come, whether playing hard rock in Deep Purple, or classic on his own, and sometimes with them, he is without a doubt a true original. On this Eagle Rock re-issue of Sarabande, there is just enough clarity added without flattening the ebbing waves of sound to be heard throughout this great album with the Philharmonia Hungaria Orchestra, conducted by Eberhard Schoener. This includes great tracks, all of them with a variety of styles blended together - long symphonic pieces of prog candy. Joining Lord and symphony, are Mark Nauseef and Pete York on drums and percussion, Paul Karass on bass and Andy Summers on guitar.(before he joined the Police) This has always been a favorite Lord solo album of mine, an ascending work of art, and it stands the test of time, as the Doctor himself does. He is a humbly gifted and gentle wise man, who has given generations of music to the world in the name of peace, love and prosperity.

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
Fantasia

Orchestral bombast sets things up for a minute or so, before two and a half minutes of pure beauty fades into a roaring frenzy. This is very heavy handed but accessible because it's so commanding, but, then what else can one expect from such a piece, as the orchestra takes full control of things?

Sarabande

A soothing, almost jazzy rhythm section sends Summers into recognition and things could not be more pleasant. Everything just goes together so well as Lord sails away with some seriously tasty synth work. Things aren't anywhere near over though, as Lord and Summers then go into some nice interplay and out of nowhere comes a lovely orchestral arrangement of majestic proportions to wrap it all up. This is an absolutely epic number, an underrated masterpiece.

Aria

Next is this lovely piano ballad, a massively infectious work of art, with Lord at his lighthearted best, sparring with a light string arrangement, but only for texture here. It is brilliant, melodic and classy.

Gigue

This is probably the most versatile, accessible and most well known number on the album. Both Lord and Summers shine along with Nauseef at his percussive best, and there’s a bass line that won't quit.

Bouree

This is another one that just about has it all, with a lot of percussion beginning things, and this takes Lord into percussion mode himself by perfectly blending in with a heavy bottom groove. Again it's yet another interesting number with all kinds of things going on from tribal beats to classical motifs.

Pavane

Probably the most classical performance from Lord himself on the album, this is another masterpiece of movie soundtrack sort of music. This is not a bad thing and often recognized in Lord's more classical work.

Caprice

This is an uplifting one to say the least, after that... it's a comical little gem with Lord all over the place, showing an almost Beatles sort of humor. Things really are cooking by now and there is no secret to the quality of music in each and every song on this fantastic time piece.

Finale

Starting and ending with a grand salvo, all kinds of cool tid bits float around in-between on this magnificent closer. It just tops the whole work of wonder off in style. I don't think the curious will be stopping at one listen to this prog heavy needle in the haystack, which features a killer performance by Andy Summers.

 
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