“I get up to Aretha, get down to James Brown, looking up to Quincy, inspired by Marvin Gaye”. Those are the words of Jean-Paul “Bluey” Maunick, founder and mastermind of the immensely popular and successful Incognito on “Life Between The Notes”, the title track of his new solo album and follow-up to “Leap Of Faith” from 2013.
It has all the important Incognito ingredients: catchy hooks, danceable grooves, and tight production. Bluey himself is on the mic here and plays guitar and keys on some tracks. “Hold On” hearkens back to his days with the UK Funk group Light of the World which he founded way back in 1979. I’m really excited that a lot of new independent Soul releases have a distinct late 70s/early 80s feel – even though I’m not really convinced with the vocal on this particular track.
The very sexy “Saints And Sinners” quotes D’Angelo, Joni Mitchell, Curtis Mayfield, and Roy Ayers and starts with some very soulful keyboard reverie. Matthew Cooper is behind the Latin-flavored “Trippin’ On This Feelin'” playing all instruments except percussion and is the perfect early-set club groove. “I’ve Got A Weakness For Your Love” is a soulful mid-tempo swayer but lacks a bit of some excitement or thrill. But it’s back to typical Incognito fare on the scorcher “Tomorrow Never Lies”.
A nod to New York is the relatively poor “Columbus Avenue” which doesn’t convince me as the song never really hits the spot. It’s back to the 80s with the very charming “Caught Up In The Grey” with efficiently repetitive piano chords and the joyful “Been There Before”. Overall the album is a pretty mixed affair but with a total of 13 tracks, there is enough to go back to. I couldn’t really get into “More Than Getting By” and The Poetry Of Life”, but with the “Sunships On The Shores Of Mars”, the final track on his new album with its jazzy overtones and somewhat graceful piano and percussion lead, he won me over again.Follow: