Organist Jon Lord supposedly left Deep Purple to retire and take it easy, after he'd spent much of his life recording and touring the world with Purple and other artists. But upon his exit from the band, Lord played gigs and issued albums on his own, such as 2004's Beyond the Notes. The split provided Lord with the opportunity to pursue some unexpected musical avenues, as the album sees a detour into soothing classical music. Gone is the blaring guitar through Marshall stacks and Lord's overdriven organ rocking back and forth -- in its place is the jazzy sound of "Cologne Again" a lovely piano ballad, and the string-heavy album closer, "Music for Miriam." While it's not unheard of for a rock musician to take the orchestral plunge, Beyond the Notes is one of the few instances where it works surprisingly well and doesn't come off as a mere detour.
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AllMusic Review by Greg Prato