An acid jazz project with surprisingly deep roots in the 1970s jazz/funk/fusion world, Incognito were originally formed by Jean-Paul ‘Bluey’ Maunick and Paul ‘Tubbs Williams in 1979. Both were leaders of the late ’70s disco-funk group ‘Light of the World’. Incognito celebrated their thirtyfifth anniversary in 2014 and the release of their sixteenth studio album.
Incognito debuted officially with the single Parisienne Girl and released the LP Jazz Funk in 1981. The band’s second album Behind the Mask drifted towards the fusion of jazz-rock and in 1983 it was released with another title, The Warriors.
Bluey continued to write material for his group in the ‘80s, whilst working with Maxi Priest, Total Contrast, Steven Dante and others. Tubbs worked with George Michael & Rosie Gaines and later moved to Holland. In the early ‘90s Gilles Peterson, DJ legend and one of the first admirers of Incognito, founded the Recording Label “Talkin’ Loud” and signed the band. The single Always there became a Top Ten hit in 1991, while Britain’s booming acid jazz scene prompted the release of the group’s second official LP, titled Inside life.
They released Tribes Vibes & Scribes in 1992. Vocalist Maysa Leak joined the lineup and their version of Stevie Wonder’s Don’t You Worry ‘Bout a Thing became another Incognito hit. The album ascended Britain’s pop charts as well as on America’s contemporary jazz charts.
The third album, Positivity, in 1993, became the group’s biggest album success, attaining much attention across Europe as well as Britain; while Deep Waters achieved greater success for them on the radio in the USA.
Incognito went on the road and included Pamela Anderson & Joy Malcolm in the lineup at the same time as they released 100º and Rising in 1995. After that came Remixed (1996), Tokyo Live (1998) and No Time Like the Future (1999). For the next two albums they extended their collaborations with invited guests like Ed Motta, Joy Rose and Kelly Sae.
The new millenium continued to be fruitful for the group with the recording label “Dome”. Adventures in Black Sunshine was released in 2004 and featured the collaboration of George Duke in Minding my business. The eleventh album in 2005 was titled Eleven and featured guest artists Imaani & Tony Momrelle. Bees + Flowers + Things was released at the end of 2006 and was a mix of cover versions along with re-recordings of four Incognito classics. In 2008 they released Tales from the Beach and More tales remixed. The year 2010 saw the release of a notable two-CD Live in London: The 30th Anniversary Concert & Transatlantic R.P.M., featuring performances by Chaka Khan, Mario Biondi, Leon Ware, Al McKay, Christian Urich of Tortured Soul, Ursula Rucker and Maysa Leak, who had just about disappeared from the band’s albums. Surreal, in 2012, featured the collaboration of Vanessa Haynes, Natalie Williams and Mo Brandis, with young new musicians in the rhythm section and fresh direction accompanied by unforgettable live performances.
Jean-Paul Maunick – Band Leader/Rhythm Guitar
Vanessa Haynes – Vocals
Tony Momrelle – Vocals
Katie Leone – Vocals
Francis Hylton – Bass
Matt Cooper – Keys
Francesco Mendolia – Drums
Francisco Sales – Lead Guitar
Joao Caetano – Percussion
Sid Gauld – Trumpet
Alistair White – Trombone
Paul Booth – Sax/Flute