CD Duration: 71.10 / Year: 2015
2015 compilation from his privately released ‘Lounge Organ’ series of CDs. Played on a KeyB organ, the CD is 99% ‘Hammond sound’ with a few sounds from a Roland BK-7m module, which also supplies the drums (which have been kept in the background).
A Whiter Shade of Pale
Music to Watch Girls By
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
One may remember back in the mid 1970s those evenings when there wasn’t much worth watching on the television once Bruce’s Generation game was over or the guests have all left after the dinner party you hosted earlier. What better than to switch on the music centre and get out the electronic organ LPs. Well nowadays it seems not much has changed in that department except that a TV set is now slim enough to hang on your wall. Back in those days, a “hard drive” was a long trip in the car. There isn’t that much middle of the road organ music left these days. Something I associate with as “lounge” because it doesn’t really fit into any other category. I do hope you will share with me this journey down memory lane with the help of this compilation of tunes selected from the volumes of my “lounge organ” set of CDs.
Speaking of the instruments. Over the years, I have owned and tried many different models including quite a few different Hammond organs, however in present times the originals are getting long in the tooth and often need repairs. I’ve never been that much use with a soldering iron and my partner, (the engineer) hates cobwebs and spiders. These organs are unbelievably heavy to gig with and too fragile to move. Most of these recordings were played on a new organ made in Italy called a KeyB whereby the tones of a Hammond were carefully and accurately recreated with a process called tonewheel modelling. I also use rotary cabinet effects for extra realism while the drums and minimal use of orchestration are delivered from a Roland Bk-7m.
So now, press the “play” button and close your eyes and imagine you’re back where it all started. Harold Wilson is Prime Minister, your new Ford Capri parked on the drive bordered by conifers outside and you notice the pile of half eaten breadsticks on the table because nobody liked your experimental fondu earlier in the evening!
Latest from Jason Lee
The Best of Lounge Organ
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.
Review by Ian King from Organ and Keyboard Cavalcade Magazine.