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Smooth Jazz VocalistCopyright © 2007
A fixture of the smooth jazz scene, soulful crooner Jon Lucien died of respiratory failure after prolonged kidney-related illness. He had undergone a kidney transplant in 2005.
Born Lucien Harrigan, he grew up in the American territory of St. Thomas and moved to New York City as a bass-playing teenager. Entranced by Nat King Cole, Lucien built a following as a wedding and bar mitzvah performer, and won a contract with RCA when a label executive saw him perform at a wedding. His first album, I Am Now, was released in 1970.
Lucien switched to Columbia Records in the mid-'70s, but didn't achieve commercial success until 15 years later with the rise of the smooth jazz format. His 1991 Mercury recording Listen Love was a hit on Billboard's Contemporary Jazz chart, and subsequent recordings for Shanachie and Orchard were well received by fans.
Lucien suffered a devastating loss in 1996, when two of his daughters perished in the crash of TWA flight 800 off the coast of Long Island. He is survived by another daughter, two sons and a stepson.