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World Music CD Reviews Reggae & Caribbean

LUCIANO

By Judson Kilpatrick

Live In San Francisco
2b1 Multimedia

Born Jephter McClymount, Luciano got his stage name due to his booming, operatic baritone (as in Luciano Pavarotti), and is also known as the Messenjah because of the conscious lessons in his lyrics. This CD and DVD set captures one of his American concerts with a 24-track digitally recording which is mixed in 5.1 surround sound on the DVD. Backed by Dean Fraser and the Firehouse Crew, Luciano begins with the hymn-like "No Light In Zion," complete with preached asides. Then the proper reggae begins with the jumpy "Sweet Sweet." Highlights include Luciano's stirring smash "Sweep Over My Soul," the immediately infectious "He Is My Friend" and an epic cover of Peter Tosh's eternally relevant "Legalize It." Luciano closes the show with a 12-minute-plus version of "Where There Is Life" featuring Jr. Kelly and Mickey General. Several of the arrangements give the band plenty of room to show off their chops, and some songs are spiced up with rock-style guitar riffs. It's a very engaging and inspirational performance, and the sound quality is terrific.