Live in NYC
(Sugar Apple Music)
Knowing Jon Lucien is like knowing the secret handshake of soul, jazz, fusion, R&B, Caribbean rhythms, Brazilian music or in a nutshell, plain good music. And once you have heard his deep and rich voice you'll certainly be hooked on it for life. But since you're on this website, I suppose you're already familiar with Jon's voice either from his own recordings or his collaborations with Block 16 (Morning Sun) or Mucho Macho (Easy Living).
With a singing career spanning thirty years it's hard to believe that Jon's new album Live In NYC is his first ever live album.
Live In NYC is Jon's third release on his own imprint Sugar Apple Music (Lucien Romantico and Man From Paradise being the first two releases). Of course having your own label gives you full control over your creative output with no A&R man telling you what to record or how to do a certain song. And believe me with a voice and musicality like Jon's it's best to let him do what he does best. As proof take any of the ten songs on this Live In NYC set, that was recorded at Birdland with Bill O'Connell (piano/keys), Kim Plainfield (drums), Gregory M. Jones (bass) and Jef Lee Johnson (bass).
For his live album Jon has chosen a pleasant mixture of his own compositions and covers of some standards to give them the unique Lucien touch.
Three of the songs redone as live versions appeared originally on Jon's Mercury album Listen Love from 1991, Love Me (a fine ballad, which appears as a brilliant nearly nine minutes long live rendition), You're Sensational (revamped with some nice interaction from the audience and they certainly had a very special evening on the occasion of the recording; to read the lyrics click here) and Take Me Away (a very good uptempo track with lots of Jon's incredible scatting).
Then there's Sunny Day, a great uptempo jazz song, and a new version of Creole Lady, which originally appeared on the Columbia Song For My Lady album.
The cover versions include a fine jazzy version of Arlen's/Mercer's Out Of This World and Coleman's/Leigh's Best Is Yet To Come, that really shows what a great jazz singer Jon is. And to give further proof of his abilities there's a quiet, laid-back bar-jazz version of Denis'/Brent's Angel Eyes.
Add to this Cole Porter's Night And Day and nine minutes and twenty seconds of musical heaven with Jon's live version of Jobim's/Oliveira's Dindi and you get one of the best live albums of 2003. The only question that arises is, why has it taken almost thirty years until Jon has done a live album. So don't wait another thirty years and get Live In NYC soon.
(for more information and sound samples visit jonlucien.com or read his bio here)