Golden-throated vocalist and songwriter Jon Lucien celebrates his first 30 years in the music business with a retrospective gift to his fans. By Request (Shanachie 5051; 64:22) takes a second look at many of Lucien's signature tunes in rearrangements which prove a comfortable, roomy fit. The swoon-inducing baritone is served well by the laconic, brasilbeat take on Bill Withers' "Hello Like Before," which is given a Johnny Mathis-like embrace, and the drama and pathos of "Shadow of Your Smile," captured with a heart-rending string section. Lucien, of course, is much more than a balladeer-proven here in nimble vocalese on the Latin lilting "Luna Mi Luna," the swinging, pure-jazz-joy arrangement of "The Sound of Music," and the fast-paced "Soul Mate," set against the awesome percussion acrobatics of Myra Casales. A gorgeous arrangement of the awe-struck "Dindi," highlighting acoustic piano alongside Lucien's vocal, is another stunner.
These beautiful arrangements of classic and original Lucien lyrics ("spending a day with you is like spending a lifetime in spring," he sings on "Soul Mate") are powerful, joyously romantic and captivating.