Take a casual listen to Incognito’s latest CD, Tales from the Beach, and be prepared for a musical excursion that showcases a blend of infectious influences from various exotic cities in the world. On this new CD, Incognito, led by founder and front man Jean Paul "Bluey" Maunick, is keeping the music cohesive as always, with beats steep in jazz that are vibrant by nature and mellow when they want to be.
Incognito’s sound is unique, a sound that has set the bar since the late 70’s that others dare to imitate, but fail miserably. So unique is their sound, that you automatically know an Incognito track whenever you hear it on the radio. There is, no doubt, underlying familiarity in their music, but Bluey still manages to inject refreshing rhythms that floats atop every track, which makes the rhythms timely with today’s sounds.
On this CD, tracks that glitter include "I’ve Been Waiting," a track that projects a 70s flashback with a modern day feel. Listen for Incognito alum Maysa’s throaty vocals soaring on this cloying arrangement.
"Love, Joy, Understanding" is an engaging track that commences with a bubbling bass line that blends nicely with ethereal vocals which leads into a joyful romp that is pleasantly unexpected.
The sounds of the islands and Africa are striking on the brass induced "Happy People" and the scintillating and engaging "Freedom to Love".
Elsewhere on the CD is the lush and tasteful ballad "I Remember The Time" featuring Maysa again on vocals and "Silence of My Mind." "Tales from the Beach," the CD’s title track, ends the musical proceedings. Pity it is only one minute long. It’s the kind of song that leaves you wanting more after the minute runs out. Perhaps Bluey may want to extend this track and feature it on another CD. It would be interesting to hear all of it.
Although Bluey has been busy with the launch of his group’s CD and making tour arrangements, that did not stop him from stealing away for a minute to chat with us at JazzReview.com
JAZZREVIEW.COM: It's hard to believe that you guys have been around for so many years making great music. What is your secret to longevity and consistency?
BLUEY: I chose to be a musician at the age of five. It’s not hard to keep going when you are living your dream. Though I go through a couple of passports every year, there is still much of the world to see and music pays for that luxury. The more experiences I make, the more creative I get. I am feeling a passion about my music that has been missing for a while. This passion allows me a fresh outlook and this is evident in my writing and production. I don’t rework the hits, I create totally new songs, but the productions will have a romantic attachment to previous Incognito songs, which makes them uniquely ours. Therein lies the secret of our longevity and consistency.
JAZZREVIEW.COM: This new CD embraces all your signature sounds and styles to create yet another impressive compilation. Tell us how this CD all came together.
BLUEY: Unlike the previous two albums, I took more time with the song writing and production. I also took myself to different locations to write and record. These new environments and spaces were vital in opening me up to a fresh approach. Some of the locations were very inspirational. It’s all over this album in the form of metaphors and documentation. These are the stories of our lives!
JAZZREVIEW.COM: It was equally refreshing to hear Incognito's alumni Maysa on a few of the CD's tracks. What was it like working with her again?
BLUEY: She worked on the last album, as well. It’s always a joy to have Maysa in the studio or on stage; she always brings with her a sense of wonder and eagerness that makes it a perfect marriage for me as a writer/producer. She had been going though a tough time with her vocal chords on the last album, but this time she was in top form and delivered the magic every time! We have a very clear understanding of what we expect of each other, and no hidden agendas. This makes for a very rare and unique creative environment and shows in the music.
JAZZREVIEW.COM: Sounds good. Any chance that she may rejoin the group in the future?
BLUEY: She has never left the band That is not the way Incognito works! We do what we can for each other and if timing, engagement clashes, financial and logistical solutions can’t be found, we work around it by taking some time to work with new people and projects until the next time that we can come together again. There is no doubt in our minds that if we could afford to work together all the time, we would!
JAZZREVIEW.COM: How would you label the Incognito sound?
BLUEY: All singing, and all dancing, Jazz, Funk, Soulful House with Afro-Latino flavors, tight grooves and all shining brass!
JAZZREVIEW.COM: Are you guys planning to tour?
BLUEY: If we can find a sponsor! We are desperate to tour the USA and get offers everyday, but we cannot afford to loose money or the project will die. We hope that our fans in the USA will get to see us before the year’s end. We are doing all we can to make this happen. If anyone knows of a keen sponsor, let us know!
JAZZREVIEW.COM: Let’s hope that there are some US sponsors out there reading this article. It would really be a pleasure for me to see you guys performing live on stage and I know that I am not alone. Tell us about future projects for the group.
BLUEY: We are currently contracting the producers for a Tales From The Beach remix album. Through 2008, there will be several Live DVD releases that we are working on at the moment. Several tours ahead of us to promote Tales From The Beach from the UK and Europe, to Japan and China hopefully the USA. I am also busy producing and writing for the debut album of Dira (an Indonesian artist). I have recently started to write for my first solo album.
JAZZREVIEW.COM: Tell us more about Dira and what kind of music we can expect from her.
BLUEY: Dira turned up at one of our shows in Indonesia with her parents in her early teens. She told me of her dream to one day sing with Incognito. When I listened to her demo, I realized that this kid was serious. So I told her to get her studies finished and work on her vocals and establish herself in her local music market as a performer. Now in her twenties, she has achieved all that and more. She has performed live with Yellow Jackets and Incognito and has developed into a very strong live performer who is not afraid of a challenge. Her debut album is a stylish and refreshing blend of R&B mixed with Acid Jazz, Soulful House and Bossa flavors. The songs are sung in English with 2 cuts in her native Indonesian language. I brought in Incognito collaborators Matt Cooper, Richard Bull, Simon Cotsworth and Ski Oakenful to the project, along with Dira's favorite male vocalist, Omar, from the UK to do a duet with her. So far, we have done all the recordings in Indonesia, but Dira is coming to the UK to finish the album soon.
JAZZREVIEW.COM: Any more collaborations with other artists?
BLUEY: The next album will be in celebration of our 30th anniversary and will hopefully will feature a host of guest artists. We are still to approach them, so watch this space!