Welcome to the latest issue of Denis Poole’s Secret Garden, the page that offers a personal perspective on the very best from the world of smooth jazz and classic soul. Attention all ‘old schoolers’ everywhere. Almost thirty years after the legendary Incognito made its debut with the album Jazz Funk, leader Bluey Maunick has reached back to the inspirations he originally took from 1970’s jazz, funk and fusion. The result is the stunning new release Transatlantic R.P.M which, with fifteen all new Maunick compositions (plus one sensational cover), captures to perfection the vibe of an age that, for many, was magical.
Incognito has become synonymous with the movement that started out in the UK as acid jazz and with Transatlantic R.P.M much of what makes the band unique remains evident. However, by enlisting the services of guest performers such as the iconic Chaka Khan and Motown legend Leon Ware, Maunick has engendered a feel that although unashamedly and soulfully retro still feels refreshingly new. This is particularly so with the track ‘Gotta’ that finds the band in collaboration with Philadelphia’s melodic spoken word artist Ursula Rucker. With an intensity that is tangible this is a tune which is already attracting attention and another is a sumptuous cover of the Boz Scaggs classic ‘Lowdown’. In the capable hands of Chaka Khan, Mario Biondi and Stuart Zender, it has a ‘wow’ factor that is off the scale whilst when Chaka Khan returns for easy grooving ‘The Song’ the Latin infused outcome is a total delight.
The silky ‘Make Room For Love’ owes much to the soulful tones of Tony Momrelle and he is in equally fine form for the jazz tinged ‘Tell Me What To Do’. It’s a cut that places the band closer to the often sophisticated, sometimes complex, but always compelling music with which its name was made and in this same vein are songs such as ‘Expresso Madureria’ and ‘Life Ain’t Nothing But A Good Thing’ where classic Incognito style keyboards are in the capable hands of Matt Cooper. Elsewhere the heavy hitting ‘Can’t Get Enough’ proves to be the perfect vehicle for the robust style of Mario Biondi and although the message of ‘Everything That We Are’ is nostalgia laden, the groove it engenders is all about today.
Luscious horns combined with the unmistakable sound of longtime Incognito vocalist Maysa Leak herald in the relaxed yet heartfelt ‘Your Sun My Sky’ and the tempo remains mellow for ‘All My Life’ where the singing voice of Joy Rose takes the honors. She is just as effective for the appropriately evocative ‘1975’ whilst the up beat ‘Put A Little Lovin’ In Your Heart’ seems tailor made to enliven even the most tired of dancing feet.
All things considered, in a collection that will effortlessly and repeatedly put you ‘back in the day’, a real Secret Garden favorite is ‘Line In The Sand’. This very special song is blessed by the soulful vocals of Leon Ware but right up there with it is the wonderful ‘Let’s Fall In Love Again’. Entirely in the best traditions of great dance floor fillers, and with Tortured Soul front man John Christian Urich firmly in control, this is Incognito at its shimmering best.
For more on Incognito go to www.incognito.com
Do you have any comments on what you have found in this edition of the Secret Garden? If so please e-mail me on DenisPoole2000@Yahoo.com.Posted by Denis Poole at August 21, 2010 5:39 PM