On September 20, 2014 earMusic and Eagle Rock Entertainment released Celebrating Jon Lord on CD, 2 CD and via digital formats. This tribute to the late great keyboardist Jon Lord of Deep Purple ( who passed away in 2012) was recorded on April 4, 2014 at the Royal Albert Hall.
In addition to be night full of amazing music, the event was also a fundraiser for The Sunflower Jam, a charity started by Jacky Paice, wife of Ian Paice, also of Deep Purple. Each year since 2006 a group of musicians has met up in London to put on a performance to raise money for the charity, and Lord himself performed at a number of them. Sunflower Jam is donating all royalties of this years performance to the Jon Lord Fellowship, which supports research into non-toxic treatments for cancer.
The 4 hour-long performance was split into two acts, the first being Jon Lord- The Composer. Lord left Deep Purple to pursue his first love- classical music. Paul Mann directed a full orchestra on these pieces and this portion of the performance is available as a single disc.
Jon Lord- The Rock Legend celebrates 50 years of music, performed by many friends and former bandmates. Disc 1 starts off with two songs by Jon’s very first band, a distinctively R&B group called The Artwoods ( Things Get Better and I Take What I Want). The next era is that of Paice Ashton Lord, with Ian Paice joining in the performance of Silas and Jerome and I’m Gonna Stop Drinking.
And then of course there is Deep Purple. Songs such as Soldier of Fortune, You Keep on Moving and Burn are performed by names such as Bruce Dickinson (Iron Maiden) and Rick Wakeman (Yes), among others.
The evening culminated in a 45 minute set by Deep Purple themselves (Ian Gillan, Roger Glover, Ian Paice, Don Airey, and Steve Morse). This performance is found on Disc 2 of the Rock Legend set. The band, along with full orchestra performed classics originally performed with Lord, such as Lazy, When a Blind Man Cries, Perfect Strangers, and Black Night. Also included are two songs from the 2013 album Now What?! that are dedicated to Lord, as is clear by the lyrics- Uncommon Man and Above and Beyond.
The finale is an 11 minute version of Hush with Bruce Dickinson, Rick Wakeman, Phil Campbell (The Temperance Movement), Bernie Marsden and Micky Moody (Whitesnake) joining in the fun. The on-stage banter and camaraderie between musicians is evident in the audio and one can imagine being a witness to this legendary performance honoring an amazing man who was, and will continue to be an inspiration to musicians for years to come.