The late Jon Lord's 2011-2012 studio reworking of the legendary Concerto For Group & Orchestra was originally released on CD in September of 2012, shortly after the passing of the beloved Hammond organ master from cancer. As fate would have it, the Deep Purple founder was able to hear and approve the final mixes of the album just weeks before losing his battle to the deadly disease, and he surely knew what a fine job he and the cast of musicians & singers he assembled did on this project. Featuring the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, bassist Guy Pratt,drummer Brett Morgan, guitarists Steve Morse, Joe Bonamassa, and Darin Vasilev, plus vocalists Bruce Dickinson, Steve Balsamo, and Kasia Laska, with the entire ensemble conducted by Paul Mann, the results were stellar as the whole cast took this 'rock-meets-orchestra' concept of Lord's (originally performed by Deep Purple & Orchestra back in 1969) to new heights.
For those who haven't already picked up a copy of Eagle Rock's 2012 CD release of Concerto For Group & Orchestra, the CD is included in this set, along with a Blu-ray that houses a wonderful documentary on the creation of that album. Featuring plenty of rehearsal and studio footage of Lord, the Orchestra, the soloists, and singers, you get a first hand view of how this all came together. Some of the most striking footage is of Iron Maiden's lead singer Dickinson working out his vocal lines for the recording-he really took Ian Gillan's lyrics and ran with his performance, putting his heart and soul into the production. For longtime, loyal fans of the late Jon Lord, much of this documentary will be a tad bittersweet, as you get to see him just prior to being diagnosed with cancer (looking robust and healthy) and periodically over the subsequent months, looking thinner and frailer as time went on and the illness was obviously overtaking him. The joy he seemed to be feeling at seeing this dream project come to fruition though is readily apparent, and his quite wit & sense of humor was right there to the end. I had to wipe away a few tears watching this, not just from sadness over Lord's passing but from seeing a very sick man having so much joy & emotion as all these wonderful musicians help to see his vision through to the end.
The video & audio quality of this Blu-ray is remarkable, and there is a wealth of bonus material, including extensive interviews & rehearsal footage, as well as the entire Concerto album in 5.1 audio. If you have a decent home theater system this one will really put it to the test...just marvelous sounding. Overall this is just a really great package and tribute to one of the greatest musicians who ever lived. We miss ya Jon!