Berks Jazz Fest 2013: Incognito feat. Maysa

At 7pm, Incognito performed at the Sovereign Performing Arts Center, a great historic venue that provided the appropriate setting for this great band from Britain, led by Bluey Maunick who celebrates his 34th year in the music industry. They kicked off the show with an uptempo instrumental featuring the three piece horn section and a keyboard solo by Matt Cooper. Remember that Incognito entered the scene back in 1979 with an instrumental album called Jazz Funk, vocalists were later added during their career, and Bluey still loves to do some smoking instrumentals during his shows. Next was one of my favorites from their catalog, the funky "Roots (Back To A Way Of Life)" featuring the lovely Vanessa Haynes on vocals. Next being introduced was singer Natalie Williams, followed by the only male singer, Tony Momrelle, who just returned from a tour with Sade and had been sorely missed by the band during that time. Then it was time for the best singer this band ever nurtured, Maysa, who spent some important time during the early stages of her career with Incognito and will always be connected with them, she sang "Don't Turn My Love Away" in her own inimitable style. followed by "Step Into My Life" from the Positivity album.

In between songs, Bluey shared stories from his career, before more jazz-funk inclined songs featuring one of those world-class singers followed, with "Just A Friend Of Mine" being another highlight. Another fun part during the show was when everybody switched instruments and Bluey had an excuse to feature his vocals. They turned up the heat with "Parisienne Girl" from 1979 that featured the sax player who really brought the house down with his smoking sax playing that didn't want to end, people were cheering while he took the song higher and higher, it was just awesome. Then we got a great percussion and drums solo, where both players really pulled all the stops and showed their virtuosity. In the middle of the concert, Bluey paid tribute to songwriters Leon Ware and Stevie Wonder, who both are close to his heart, with Natalie Williams doing an awesome rendition of Minnie Riperton's "Inside My Love" that gave me goose bumps. Maysa did her signature song "Deep Waters", complete with some vocal improvisation, before they did their own Philly tribute with "Nights Over Egypt". At the end, Bluey did his "peace & love" speech, before we were dismissed to the sound of Bob Marley's "One Love" after over two hours of music. Time flew during this firework of music.