Today's artists are arguably the most multi-cultural band in Britain (current and past members hailing from a remarkable list of 32 different countries!), they was initially formed back in 1979 by Mauritius-born Jean-Paul Maunick, known to all since childhood as a Bluey . The son of Edouard Maunick - a distinguished African poet and writer - Bluey first moved to London in 1969 at the age of nine. By the mid-Seventies, his fascination with watching US bands like Earth, Wind & Fire, Weather Report and Kool & The Gang soon led to him hanging around with key players in the UKâ s then-emerging jazz/funk scene - including groups like Gonzales, Hi-Tension and Average White Band - before going on to form his own aforementioned combo. With their debut album Jazz Funk (released through British independent Ensign Records in 1981) immediately establishing them at the forefront of London's then-thriving black music underground, the band however did not reach their commercial peak until signing with Phonogram's hip Talkin Loud label in 1990. ..... 'N Joy
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An acid jazz project with surprisingly deep roots in the 1970s jazz/funk/fusion world, Incognito were originally formed by Jean-Paul Maunick (aka Bluey) and Paul "Tubbs" Williams. Both were leaders of the late-'70s disco-funk group Light of the World, who scored several moderate British hits, including a cover of "I Shot the Sheriff." Just after the release of Light of the World's third LP (Check Us Out), Maunick and Williams shifted the lineup slightly and renamed the conglomeration Incognito. A decade separated their first and second albums, but from the early '90s through the early 2010s, the group recorded at a steady rate and stuck to their colorful hybrid sound.
Incognito debuted with the single "Parisienne Girl" and released the 1981 LP Jazz Funk, but were inactive during the rest of the 1980s. Maunick continued to write material for his group, even while working with Maxi Priest and others. (Williams later moved to Finland.) By the beginning of the 1990s, DJ legend and early Incognito fan Gilles Peterson had founded the Talkin' Loud label and he made Incognito one of his first signings. Their 1991 update of Ronnie Laws' "Always There," featuring lead vocals by Jocelyn Brown, became a Top Ten hit as part of Britain's booming acid jazz scene, prompting the release of Incognito's second album overall, Inside Life. It was largely a studio affair, with Maunick and engineer Simon Cotsworth directing a large cast with many of the best musicians in Britain's fertile groove community.
With 1992's Tribes Vibes + Scribes, Maunick added vocalist Maysa Leak to the lineup. A cover of Stevie Wonder's "Don't You Worry 'Bout a Thing" became another Incognito hit, and the album ascended Britain's pop charts even as it rose on America's contemporary jazz charts. The third album, Positivity, became the group's biggest album success, with much attention across Europe as well as Britain.
In 1994, Incognito appeared on the Red Hot Organization's compilation album, Stolen Moments: Red Hot + Cool. The album, meant to raise awareness and funds in support of the AIDS epidemic in relation to the African American community, was heralded as "Album of the Year" by Time magazine. In 1996, the band contributed "Water to Drink" to the AIDS-benefit album Red Hot + Rio, also produced by the Red Hot Organization. Their song "Need to Know" is the theme song for progressive radio and television news program Democracy Now!.
Late 1994 Leak unsuccessfully attempted a solo career with Blue Note, leading to temporary vocal replacement Pamela Anderson (not the Baywatch pinup) on 1995's 100° and Rising. Leak returned, though, appearing on the following year's Beneath the Surface. During the latter half of the decade, Incognito expanded their discography with 1996's Remixed, 1998's Tokyo Live, and 1999's No Time Like the Future.
The group's first two albums of the 2000s, Life Stranger Than Fiction (2001) and Who Needs Love (2002), were made without Leak. The latter, the first of several releases for the Dome label, featured Brazilian vocalist Ed Motta. Leak returned for Adventures in Black Sunshine (2004), a set that also boasted a guest appearance from longtime Incognito inspiration George Duke. Bees + Flowers + Things (2006) was a mix of cover versions along with re-recordings of four Incognito classics. More Tales Remixed (2008) involved remixes from Dimitri from Paris and Mark de Clive-Lowe, among others.
Incognito began the 2010s by acknowledging a major group milestone, most notably with the two-CD Live in London: The 30th Anniversary Concert, as well as their 14th studio set, Transatlantic R.P.M., featuring performances from Chaka Khan, Mario Biondi, Leon Ware, Ursula Rucker, and Leak. Surreal (2012) was followed by Bluey's first proper solo album, Leap of Faith (2013), while Amplified Soul (2014) -- one of the group's several releases to exceed an hour in length -- showed that their productivity was hardly on the wane. 2016 saw the band release its 17th studio long-player, In Search of Better Days, which featured guest artists pianist Avery Sunshine, drummer Richard Spaven, percussionist Jody Linscott, and Japanese guitar legend Tomoyasu Hotei.
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However fans choose to label Incognito's sound in the post-acid jazz world of 2008, it was clear that wherever the group performs, its feisty mix of retro soul, brass, funk, and jazz truly lived up to the title of 2004's Narada Jazz disc Adventures in Black Sunshine. Founder Jean-Paul "Bluey" Maunick and his often rotating "collective" group averaged an incredible six months a year on the road, wowing crowds throughout Europe and Asia, where they're biggest in Japan and Indonesia. Incognito's uniquely funky, retro soul sound is so urban that it may have at first seemed odd to call their equally infectious, constantly grooving Heads Up debut Tales from the Beach -- 'til we realize that the beaches Maunick is referring to are those on his native island of Mauritius (off the coast of Madagascar). That's where he got wind of hotel bands and others playing around bonfires and cookouts; the loose, happy flow of Incognito's bouncy, horn inflected tunes here completely reflects that wistful reference. While Maunick's crisp, jangling guitar work, Francis Hylton's bubbling bass, and those old-school soul atmospheres and horns inhabit every melody and groove, these tales are told by a shimmering array of sensual R&B singers. The most well-known of these to longtime Incognito and smooth jazz fans is Maysa, who took time from her building solo career to grace four tracks with her rich and sexy, dark toned vocals: the soaring, percussive dance gem "I've Been Waiting," the dreamy melancholy meets joy-infused "I Remember a Time," the fast rolling jazz tune "Never Look Back," and the sensuous chill rocker "When Words Are Just Words." At a generous 15 tracks, Tales from the Beach gives ample tracking to a handful of lead vocalists who are lesser known than Maysa but equally as heart tugging and soul-spiced: Joy Rose, Tony Momrelle, and Imaani. The three of them team up on the brass and vibes-tinged anthem "Feel the Pressure," perfectly showcasing the true ensemble energy that's made Incognito such a powerful force in post-acid jazz groove music for so many years.
Incognito - Tales From The Beach (flac 518mb)
01 Step Aside 5:58
02 I've Been Waiting 4:28
03 When The Sun Comes Down 4:46
04 Love, Joy, Understanding 6:44
05 I Come Alive (Rimshots And Basses) 3:54
06 Happy People 4:16
07 N.O.T. 6:10
08 Freedom To Love 6:45
09 I Remember A Time 5:29
10 It May Rain Sometime 2:06
11 Never Look Back 6:44
12 When Words Are Just Words 6:12
13 Feel The Pressure 4:46
14 Silence Of My Mind 3:54
15 Tales From The Beach 1:42
Incognito - Tales From The Beach (ogg 177mb)
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Jean-Paul “Bluey” Maunick and Incognito have become an insitution on the British groove scene, for their jazz-funk and nu-soul hybrid. Transatlantic R.P.M. marks Maunick's 30 years in the music biz and celebrates with 14 new songs, 13 of them originals. Bluey enlisted a slew of friends to join the party. The set opens with the album's lone cover: a convincing reading of Boz Scaggs' "Lowdown," featuring Italian clubjazz singer Mario Biondi and Chaka Khan. The arrangement doesn't differ all that much from Scaggs' version (thankfully) but the meld of Biondi's and Khan's rough-edged lead vocals juxtaposed with a smooth backing chorus, a slightly faster tempo, and a popping bassline after the bridge, distinguishes it. Another notable cut is Bluey's funky name checking homage to the 70s and his youth entitled "75"; it's sung by Joy Rose with a gorgeous horn arrangement by Kevin Robinson. Leon Ware puts in a fine performance on the babymaker, makeup number "Line In The Sand." Bluey's guitar work is, as usual, tasteful and understated, but adds immeasurably. Ursula Rucker sings and speaks on the stepper "Gotta," while Khan gets her own showcaseon the jazzy, string and Rhodes laden, "The Song." Longtime vocalist Maysa shines on the summery "Your Love My Sky," with beautiful guitar work from Bluey and a fine brass arrangement by Trevor Mires. The lone instrumental on the set "Expresso Madureira," mixes Brazilian and Afro Latin rhythms in a heady, funk brew with popping percussion and horns. A Stevie Wonder meets Roy Ayers vibe distinguishes the '70s groove at work in "Life Ain't Nothin' But A Good Thing" sung by Vanessa Haynes. Biondi returns on the breakbeat clubjazz of "Can't Get Enough," backed by Incognito's stellar chorus. Bluey even takes a vocal on the closer, "Tell Me What To Do." While he's no match for the other singers here, the track's breaking, cut time rhythm, breezy atmosphere, and lithe, sensual melody makes it a nu-soul winner. Incognito may not be innovating on Transatlantic R.P.M., but in showcasing the many places they've been, and the wide vein they've mined, they don't need to. This is a summeritme party record with fine songs and good vibes in abundance.
Incognito - Transatlantic R.P.M (flac 489mb)
01 Lowdown 4:31
02 Everything That We Are 3:59
03 1975 4:41
04 Your Sun My Sky 4:07
05 Line In The Sand 4:25
06 Gotta 4:15
07 Let's Fall In Love Again 4:26
08 The Song 5:11
09 Put A Little Lovin' In Your Heart 5:27
10 All Of My Life 4:51
11 Expresso Madureira 5:29
12 Life Ain't Nothing But A Good Thing 6:02
13 Make Room For Love 6:05
14 Can't Get Enough 4:02
15 The Winter Of My Springs 0:44
16 Tell Me What To Do 5:20
Incognito - Transatlantic R.P.M (ogg 173mb )
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After collaborating with the likes of Chaka Khan, spoken word artist Ursula Rucker, and Italian soul singer Mario Biondi on 2010's Transatlantic RPM, British acid jazz pioneers Incognito hand over the vocal reins to a younger crowd for their 15th studio album, Surreal. It's an inspired move showing that, 30 years on from their debut album, bandleader Jean-Paul "Bluey" Maunick still has his finger on the pulse. While longtime singers Maysa and Vanessa Haynes remain a vital part of the setup, the former kicking off proceedings in style with the bass-driven funk of "The Less You Know," the latter channeling the divas of the Studio 54 era on a cover of Queen Yahna's '70s cult disco classic "Ain't It Time," it's the new recruits who steal the show. German-born vocalist Mo Brandis displays a maturity and soulfulness far beyond his 26 years on the John Legend-esque lead single "Goodbye to Yesterday" and the summery jazz of "Don't Wanna Know," while Ronnie Scott's regular Natalie Williams justifies the Erykah Badu/Jill Scott comparisons on the gorgeously slinky chillout of "Restless as We Are" and the dreamy bossa nova of "The Stars from Here." If they can hang on to this highly talented lineup, then Incognito's future appears to be in very safe hands indeed.
Incognito - Surreal (flac 452mb)
01 The Less You Know 5:01
02 Goodbye To Yesterday 4:19
03 Above The Night 4:04
04 Ain't It Time 5:19
05 Capricorn Sun 3:50
06 Don't Wanna Know 4:16
07 Restless As We Are 4:42
08 Rivers On The Sun 5:20
09 Don't Break Me Down 4:21
10 The Stars From Here 2:12
11 To Be With You 6:17
12 This Must Be Love 3:32
13 The Way You Love 6:09
14 Thoughtful Fantasies 6:11
Incognito - Surreal (ogg 153mb)
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In 2013, Jean-Paul "Bluey" Maunick stepped out with his first solo album, Leap of Faith -- a stylistically varied set on which he performed the lead vocals -- but he quickly went to work on fresh material with the group he has led for over four decades. Leap of Faith evidently didn't drain his creativity, as Amplified Soul is another double-length Incognito album, 70 minutes in duration. Though it doesn't feature Maysa Leak or any collaborator on the level of Transatlantic R.P.M. contributors Chaka Khan, Leon Ware, and Al McKay, it certainly isn't short on powerful and uplifting lead vocal turns. Maunick works with some names familiar to Incognito fans and continues to keep it fresh with new voices. Most notably, there's the underexposed Deborah Bond on "I See the Sun," a gorgeously rolling number near the end that could just as easily follow the album's introduction. Melonie Crosdale leads "Rapture," another beaming, kicked-back groove that stands with the group's best work. They take it back a little farther than their typical mid-'70s to early-'80s well of inspiration for the strutting "Hats (Makes Me Wanna Holler)," one of their funkier straight-R&B songs. At this point, even the most casual listener knowledgeable about the group's inspirations won't be surprised that a piece titled "Wind Sorceress" resembles Mizells-era Donald Byrd. And yet, despite the obvious likeness, it's fully enjoyable, filled with little details that make it more than a mere tribute. As usual, Maunick either wrote or co-wrote all the original material, and there's a cover -- a festive version of Atlantic Starr's 1985 single "Silver Shadow," fronted by Vanessa Haynes.
Incognito - Amplified Soul (flac 494mb)
01 Amplify My Soul (Part 1) 2:17
02 I Couldn't Love You More 4:28
03 Rapture 5:00
04 Hands Up If You Wanna Be Loved 3:57
05 Hats (Makes Me Wanna Holler) 4:07
06 Silver Shadow 5:00
07 Deeper Still 3:38
08 Amplify My Soul (Part 2) 3:04
09 Something 'Bout July 6:06
10 Day Or Night 3:05
11 Wind Sorceress 2:45
12 Another Way 4:37
13 I See The Sun 5:47
14 Never Known A Love Like This 5:28
15 The Hands Of Time 4:20
16 Stop Running Away 6:11
Incognito - Amplified Soul (ogg 164mb)
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