It is a poignant memory that my one opportunity to collaborate with Jon Lucien came about immediately after the death of his daughter, Dalila, in the infamous crash of TWA flight 800 in 1996. As a very strange coincidence, I knew several other people who were lost on that same airplane: a couple from my neighborhood who were traveling with their teenage daughter, and the wife of Wayne Shorter, Ana Maria, who was traveling with her niece-Jon’s daughter. Being the father of two girls myself, I could hardly begin to imagine what it must have been like for him. I’m not sure how one goes on after such a terrible loss. But the amazing thing about it was that Jon was able to direct his energy and emotion into the thing that defined him: music. His stoicism and ability to take a devastating event and turn it into positivity amazed me.
In his own words: “My daughter doesn’t want me sitting around being unhappy. I look at her and we communicate. We make music. The music is a special force.” Music certainly is a special force, and the most basic expression of music is the human voice, and boy, did Jon ever have a source of that force in his.