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Best Of British: Incognito

05/03/2009

incognito

Incognito are more than a band, they are a beacon of UK talent that has shone on British music culture for almost 30 years!

Ask most soul music fans, whether they be here in the UK or on the other side of the pond, ‘do you know Incognito?’ and you will should get a resounding ‘YES’. Even if they do not know the band by name, they will be familiar with some of their tracks.

Incognito – ‘Always There’ (Inside Life, 1991)

Over the years the line-up for Incognito has shifted and changed significantly, however frontman Jean-Paul ‘Bluey’ Maunick has remained at the helm guiding the sound of the band since it’s conception in 1980. Very few, if any, British soul acts have been able to maintain such a lengthy and successful career.

Incognito – ‘Deep Waters’ (Positivity, 1994)

The bands 1st album ‘Jazz Funk’ released in 1981 introduced people to their sound but it would take another 10 years for the follow up ‘Inside Life’ to be released and for Incognito to really make their mark. Breakthrough single ‘Always There’ featuring vocalist Jocelyn Brown reached no.6 on the UK charts, criminally this is the highest (and only top 10) chart position the band have managed in the UK. However, they have managed to build up a huge, dedicated following and maintained a very regular tour and release schedule, right up to 2008’s ‘Tales From The Beach’ (and it’s ‘Remixed’ counterpart).

Incognito – ‘Crave’ (Bees + Things + Flowers, 1996)

As mentioned the instrumental line-up has seen many changes, as has the vocal line up. As well as Jocelyn Brown, Incognito have collaborated with talented vocalists such as Carleen Anderson, Maysa Leak, Tony Momrelle and Imaani amongst others.

Descriptions of their sound vary, labels such as ‘acid-jazz’, ‘soul/jazz’, ‘nu-jazz’, ‘soulful house’ have been pinned to their work. None are incorrect, but neither do they accurately describe the true genius that is Incognito. To get a true picture of their sound you need to equip yourself with your iPod/stereo, a few of their CDs, and a few hours of ‘me’ time!

A good introduction to their sound can be found on 2006’s ‘Bees + Things + Flowers’ which contains reworkings of some of their earlier tracks including ‘Always There’, new songs and covers of some classics.

Incognito – ‘Everbody Loves The Sunshine’ (Bees + Things + Flowers)

Info can be found over at their official site, including full discography, tour dates and much more.

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