Last week saw the death of Jon Lord, keyboard player with Deep Purple. A sad loss, Jon Lord fused classical precision with improvisational abilities beyond comparison. My life was never the same when I saved up to buy a copy of Fireball in 1972. Let’s see Jon in action with the Mark II line up in Scandinavia:
My management consultant friend Udo Keller in Germany had this to say about Jon Lord:
There were many conflicts in the band especially between Ian Gillan and Ritchie Blackmore. In my opinion Jon was the constant part of Deep Purple. As one of the band founders he had the intention to keep the band together. So he acted like a real leader behind his Hammond and knew about his responsibility.
For me, two musical features stand out way above the crowd from Jon Lord’s work. The first is his use of dissonance as a tool to give his performances an edge. Dissonance for the non-musically inclined is when two notes seem to clash. Lord was fond of using the famous ‘sixth interval’, which I wrote about in the Black Sabbath blog a while back.
The second is the unique sound he created by feeding the sound of his Hammond organ into a Marshall guitar amplifier. Jon Lord takes up the story better than I could:
The combination of the sound and his playing style gave him a unique signature. I learned to break away from musical conventions, to combine discipline with the raw edge of spontaneity and to test the limits of the equipment I used through his example. He will be sadly missed.
Jon Lord 1941 – 2012 R.I.P. Child in Time