Jon Lucien

Premonition

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Jon Lucien's fifth album was the last he'd make for quite some time, with just one more, 1982's Romantico, appearing in the 15 years following this 1976 release. In common with many a soul singer, or at least ones such as Lucien who had some ties to R&B, the mid-'70s found him moving into more muted and slicker sounds. Certainly it's less adventurous than the earlier albums upon which his reputation rests. The fusion-colored, adult contemporary-oriented approach is most prominent on the opening cover of Bill Withers' "Hello Like Before," and some other songs, like "If I Could" and "You Been Away Too Long," are sentimental even by the standards of an unabashed romantic like Lucien. Nevertheless, much of his idiosyncratic blend of soul, jazz, and Virgin Island spice remains, though it's an album for committed members of his cult, not one for curious newcomers to start with. The record does get less syrupy as it goes on, with "Mi Vida" adding some lively Caribbean-tinged jazz, rhythms, and whistles. "Gaku" employs some quite funky wah-wah, and flutters that recall effects on Steve Miller's "Fly Like an Eagle." "Child of Love," a real pop-jazz standout, benefits greatly from the presence of Herbie Hancock on piano. [The 2011 CD reissue on BBR adds historical liner notes and an early version of "Child of Love" as a bonus track.]