Sunday, April 14, 2013

INCOGNITO the history

I started Incognito with Tubs. Our first saxman was Ghanaian music star George Lee and the drummer was Jeff Dunn (later with Van Morrison). We invited in keyboardist Peter Hinds and percussionist Gee Bello. Recording again for Ensign, the first Incognito offering was a demo instrumental, Parisienne Girl. On Radio 1, before the news, they played filler music and used Parisienne Girl. You'd hear it three or four times a day. Ensign then wanted an album which was all recorded in a few days. The debut Incognito set, 'Jazz Funk' was an instrumental tour de force, with guests numbering Hugh Masekela hornsmen Peter Segona and Claude Deppa and legendary Jamaican trombonist, Vin Gordon. I respect the musicians spirit 100%. With writing and producing, I knew that I could communicate and weed out the good from the bad. It was a lovely exchange and formed the whole ideology behind Incognito.
After a brief foray into pop with North London Boy, many of the core Incognito band went separate ways. Paul Williams joined The Team with Gee Bello while Bluey continued writing and producing. I had a day job but was always writing and spotting people. I discovered 14-year old vocalist Steven Dennis (later re-named Steven Dante), in Hackney. I met and worked with Marcus Miller, producer Steve Harvey, Maxi Priest, George Duke, Caroll Thompson and others. I did anything to keep my love for music alive. It all helped me to develop as a songwriter.
In the late 80's, Linn drums and sequencers were standard and I started creating tracks at home, reflects Bluey, including the main body of the Incognito 'Inside Life' album. Gilles was about to sign Young Disciples and was looking at where to go next. I had known him from his Radio Invicta days and he came to see us at the Southport Weekender playing Always There. Gilles made the connection with Jocelyn Brown for the record. The David Morales remix paved the way for how I'd make music in the future. His version was so simple and at that point, I embraced all DJ's! With the single and Inside Life album in 1991, Incognito were back.
Besides taking clubland, and the charts, by storm, Incognito unwittingly became smooth jazz heroes in the U.S. With their second Talkin Loud set, 'Tribes, Vibes & Scribes', Maysa Leaks vocals graced an update of Stevies Don't You Worry 'Bout A Thing and an album track blew up on U.S. Quiet Storm radio. Bluey remembers, We had a hit with an instrumental called L'arc En Ciel De Miles. It was a simple tribute track but that and Deep Waters from our Positivity album were huge. The key was Richard Ball's drum programming. That rhythm is now a staple on smooth jazz records. The success led to the bands Citrus Sun offshoot project in 2001.

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