Organ and Keyboard Cavalcade Review by Ian King
Issue 340 – February 2016
(CD) Jason Lee – The Best of Lounge Organ
Running Time 71 minutes – Price £7.95
Jason made contact with us a few months ago about producing a ‘Best of’ CD from his seven previously released volumes which he sells privately. While those were produced ‘in-house’ (literally), this one has a far more professional feel as it was mastered, printed and duplicated to a much higher standard.
Jason first became interested in the organ as a child when watching Peter Fenn play the organ on “Sale of the Century’ back in the 1970s. Fenn, who was director of music at Anglia television for thirty years and wrote the theme music to the show, sadly died in 2011 aged 80. Jason’s aim for all the series was to produce relaxed laid-back Hammond sound recordings, without making them too jazzy. He wanted the sound to hark back to the Hammond LPs of the 1970s, of which there were many.
If you search for Jason on YouTube (using his pseudonym of ‘organaut’), you will come across a lot of videos of him playing various keyboards, including a Wersi Helios, Eminent F225, the Yamaha Tyros 5 and the KeyB organ used on this CD.
Despite managing to achieve a pretty impressive Hammond re-creation, the CD is produced using a KeyB organ with a few solo instruments courtesy of a Roland BK-7m module. As well as these, the BK-7m also supplies the drum track which has been pushed well into the background for most of the tracks (in fact hardly audible on some), only moving more to the foreground on some of the uptempo numbers. Jason also used a Leslie simulator to get as close to a Hammond as you can without actually using one.
In my opinion, Jason’s best performances are on the slower tracks, which push the solo organ to the fore with little (or no) rhythm box. These have more of a church/gospel feel than a lounge one and include, “Blue Star”, “The Carnival is Over”, “Moonlight in Vermont / Stardust”, “Forgotten Dreams / Moon River” and “Days of Wine and Roses”. Highlights from the more up-tempo side of things include, “Georgy Girl”, “Summer of ’42”, “Help Yourself / Love Me Tonight” and “Up, Up and Away”.
It’s an enjoyable CD, particularly if you enjoyed those Hammond albums of the 1970s. Unfortunately, the CD is missing the scantily clad woman on the cover.
FULL TRACKS: A Whiter Shade of Pale • Music to Watch Girls By • Blue Star • Georgy Girl • The Carnival is Over • The Nearness of You / When I Fall in Love • Sing a Song • Woodchopper’s Ball / All My Loving / Congratulations • Summer of ’42 • Moonlight in Vermont / Stardust • The House of the Rising Sun • Time Was / Sweet Lorraine • Forgotten Dreams / Moon River • Help Yourself / Love Me Tonight • I Won’t Last a Day Without You • Days of Wine and Roses • Up, Up and Away • Nights in White Satin.
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Review by Ian King from Organ and Keyboard Cavalcade Magazine.