Thursday, 19 February 2009

Jon Lucien - Song For My Lady - 1975 - Columbia

"Song For My Lady" carried on the tradition of strong, unique and quintessentially Jon Lucien albums. I was fortunate enough to have been in regular contact with Jon and his lovely wife in the years prior to his passing, and if one could ever wish for a more genuine soul whose every fibre of being went into his Art, then you really need not look any further than this gentleman. For Jon Lucien was a gentleman and one of life's truly enlightened, spiritual souls. His wonderful character shone through all of his compositions and this 1975 album certainly allowed us a peek into that genius mind and most deep of souls. His upbringing on the British Virgin Islands lent him a tropical twist to his thinking and when Jon committed a song to wax you are automatically invited into his warm, tropical Island Paradise.

We cannot argue with any one track on this LP. From the racy, bass guitar tropical outing, "Soul Mate" enticing us with dreamy keys and intense percussion through to a perfect interpretation of Jobim's "Dindi" and the hushed ambiance of "Motherland" with a slinky yet understated funk undertone is perfect for the following final band on side one, a track of MAGNIFICENCE called "You Are My Love". Perfect for a summer's day, this gently flowing number provides a silky cushion for Jon to shine. Superb. The cover of Herbie Hancock's seminal "Maiden Voyage" starts Side two and even though I love this, it does not manage to beat the following three songs, "Creole Lady" and "Follow Your Heart" in particular. "Creole Lady" rates as one of my all-time favourite Jon Lucien cuts - the persistent ticking rhythm, stoic bass line and heavenly Rodes Piano does not give notice to the sublime vocal harmonies, A Capella chant that finally drown out the rhythm. I saw Jon perform this at the Jazz Café back in 1995 and the result was spectacular. The crowd went crazy. "Song For My Lady" is tender, with strings and the sound of nature - beautifully poetic and floating lyrics too, complemented by angelic harp flourishes. The final cut is a real doozy, though - fans of "Listen Love" from 1974's "Mind's Eye" set will love this. Sadly, this is NOT available on CD, so a trip to MusicStack or a good record fair is in order!

Barry Towler
The Vibe Scribe

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