Jon Lucien
Jon Lucien
Dubbed "the man with the golden throat" by Herbie Hancock, Jon Lucien was the premier crooner of the fusion era -- blessed with a deep, velvety voice ideally matched to romantic ballads, his sophisticated amalgam of soul, light jazz, and Caribbean rhythms never enjoyed commercial success commensurate with the esteem afforded him by critics and peers alike. Born Lucien Harrigan on Tortola in the British Virgin Islands on January 8, 1942, he grew up on the neighboring island of St. Thomas. An ardent fan of Nat King Cole, as a teen he played bass in Rico and the Rhythmaires, a group led by his father, Eric. In the mid-'60s he relocated to upstate New York, recording commercial jingles and performing at parties, weddings, and bar mitzvahs. At one such gig he captured the attention of RCA exec Ernie Alshulter, and the label soon extended a contract offer. Renaming himself Jon Lucien, the singer was also a gifted songwriter, but RCA limited his contributions to his 1970 debut, I Am Now. to just one original, instead insisting he record a series of jazz and pop standards: "The record company was attempting to package me as a sort of 'black Sinatra,'" Lucien recalled decades later. "Once the white women started to swoon at my performances, their attitudes quickly changed." Three years in the making, the follow-up, Rashida, consisted solely of Lucien originals. Both the title cut and the bossa nova-inspired single "Lady Love" found some favor with U.S. radio, and the record also earned rapturous critical notice, even earning arranger Dave Grusin a Grammy nomination.
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