"Celebrating Jon Lord - At The Royal Albert Hall" will be released on DVD, Blu-ray and CD on September 26 via earMUSIC.
It was in 2006 when, once a year, a group of stellar musicians and stars of rock started meeting up in London for a night of live music. The main intent was to raise money for a charity called The Sunflower Jam.
At first the rumours about these sessions with DEEP PURPLE, Robert Plant, Brian May and Alice Cooper were too good to be true, to the point that a few thought that they were nothing else than an urban legend.
"The Jam", as it soon started to be called, quickly became a cult night. A real must first of all for the artists themselves, finally free and happy to leave their commercial thoughts outside the venue and able to enjoy playing music together with colleagues, friends and maybe even secret rivals and for the audience, who often could simply not believe their eyes.
The Sunflower Jam started as an idea from Jacky Paice, who very often could count on the drumming of her husband Ian. Who would turn down playing with him?
The first editions were mainly open to guests and music business professionals that would contribute to the charity. Later "The Jam" became too good not to be available for the public.
It is in one of the earlier SFJs that Jon Lord played for the last time with his friends with DEEP PURPLE, duetting in a peaceful "war of Hammonds" with Don Airey, who had replaced Lord in DEEP PURPLE when he decided it was enough with a life spent on the road, and after a lifetime dedicated to rock and roll, Lord left to concentrate to his first love: classical music and the combination of rock elements in it.
Lord sadly passed away in 2012. Considering the amount of respect, friendship and love expressed on any occasion by anybody who had worked, played or simply met Jon, it is not a surprise that the 2014 Jam would be dedicated totally to his music. The night turned out to be an historical moment in rock music: A full orchestra, a director — Paul Mann — crazy enough to give wonderful arrangements to a repertoire going back and forth through fifty years of music, many old friends for an unforgettable night.
All the wonderful musicians who played at the "Celebrating Jon Lord" Sunflower Jam have left a precious mark but how not to mention the 45 minutes finale by DEEP PURPLE, the PURPLE Mk III songs played by Paice with the old friend Glenn Hughes, together with IRON MAIDEN's Bruce Dickinson, Rick Wakeman of YES fame, Steve Balsamo (who sang in the late Jon Lord band and in his last studio album "Concerto"), members of THE TEMPERANCE MOVEMENT, ex members of WHITESNAKE, Bernie Marsden and Micky Moody, the "modfather" Paul Weller.
Ian Paice remembers the "Celebrating Jon Lord" night with vivid memory considering the time all the artists had to rehearse the music for the concert (in DEEP PURPLE's case two hours the day before the show!), the resulting performance were nothing less than miraculous. A testament to the quality of the players and love for Jon and his works.
"It was like no concert I have ever played," Paice said. "To a person everyone in the Hall was there for a common purpose to honour a wonderful man and a great musician. The Royal Albert Hall is fairly large venue and can be intimidating, but that evening it was more like a gathering of friends at their local,(if slightly oversized) pub than a regular show.
I believe all the artists, the people in the audience and even the crew helping to make the show work, felt the difference that night."