Back in 1969, the lineup of DEEP PURPLE had seen a drastic change: Jon Lord, Ritchie Blackmore and Ian Paice split up with singer Rod Evans and bass player Nick Simper and hired the former EPISODE SIX musicians Ian Gillan and Roger Glover to complete the lineup.
One of the first shows to feature the new lineup was the live performance of Jon Lord’s „Concerto For Group and Orchestra“, an ambitious work to unite the different worlds of a rock band and a full orchestra which lay the foundation for Jon Lords career as composer / writer and solo artist. About a year later, the follow-up of the „Concerto“ faced the light of day during a live performance at the Royal Festival Hall, again featuring his DEEP PURPLE bandmates and conductor Malcolm Arnold.
While the „Concerto“ had its focus on band and orchestra as a whole, „Gemini Suite“ did focus on the different instruments, dedicating a track to guitar, piano, drums, vocals bass guitar and organ respectively. Also contrary to the „Concerto“, which took more than 40 years to be recorded in a studio, Jon Lord went to the studio in 1971 to record „Gemini Suite“ as a studio project. At that time, the rock career of DEEP PURPLE was in full flight and Ian Gillan and Ritchie Blackmore showed no interest in participating in the recording and were replaced by guitar player Albert Lee , multi talented Tony Ashton and singer Yvonne Elliman.
The 2019 vinyl release is based on the 2016 remaster by Rob Cass, using the original stereo mixes of the album. Luckily, the remaster doesn’t follow the popular trend of brick-walling every track and preserves the dynamics and overall feel of the original recording.
There’s still no explaination why the original artwork has been dropped and was replaced by completely new design, but the 2016 foreword by Roger Glover is also included on the inner sleeve.
Parts of this text were originally published on December 4th, 2016 as “Jon Lord – Gemini Suite“