Richard Luces: The Man and His Music

By Ian Gould ( DJ Bad Lad)

Richard Luces with CDs

He was born in St. Clair, Trinidad and Tobago and attended St. Mary’s College where he obtained his high school diploma.

He migrated to Toronto in 1968 and attended the University of Toronto, graduating with three degrees: a Bachelor’s in Economics; a Bachelor’s in Education and a Master of Business Administration, majoring in finance and accounting.

Now Richard Luces is a licensed business teacher with the Toronto District School Board and operates an accounting firm.

And he produces a line of audio CDs under the “Soft and Easy Productions’’ label. To date, he has released nine “Tropical” CDs; the latest, titled “Tropical Breeze”, was released one month ago.

For all his accomplishments, Luces is somewhat reclusive and does not regularly answer his phone. So, it was somewhat difficult trying to track him down to talk about his music. Eventually, I did make contact with him and discovered trhat he appeared to be much younger than he really is.

 Asked why his CDs do not have his image on the front cover, he  said that he enjoys his privacy and ” moreover, his music – not his face – will sell the CD,”

 A Trinidadian at heart., he relishes the music of his homeland, especially that of Lord Kitchener. He claims Kitchener who won the roadmarch in Trinidad several times, was the best songwriter that Trinidad has ever produced.

Richard  displayed great excitement in showing how he made his music. There were the keyboard, the sound generator, the computer, the mixer and a host of monitors and speakers. He said  that he does not use programmed tracks or a drum machine. He plays every sound that you hear on his CDs; everything from the lead instruments, the rhythm, the bass, drums and harmonising instruments. It takes him two hours to complete 20 seconds of a tune. The mixing, equalization and mastering – those take even longer.

From his first “Tropical Sunset” – a runaway international best seller – to his most recent “Tropical Breeze”, Richard has put his signature on the mellow, soothing and passionate arrangements of tunes that he seems to choose from a nostalgic and sentimental ambience.

“Tropical Breeze”, though, is unique. It is the first time that Richard uses vocalists on a CD. Ilana Fernandes sings “I Can’t Help Falling In Love with You”, “Summer Samba” and ‘The Thrill is Gone”.

Bryan Cumberbatch sings the Bee Gees’ hit “To Love Somebody”; and Cuban singer DKNO vocalizes the Mexican hit, “Mas Que Tu Amigo”.

“Tropical Breeze”, which has 19 tracks with a playing time of 73 minutes, also includes another first for Richard. It’s the first time another musician, other than himself, is featured on one of his CDs. On four tracks, Ifield Joseph plays the guitar, and Ronnie des Vignes plays percussion.

The CD was mastered by Ifield Joseph and Harish Pitambe