We thought we’d slipped through a time warp when we played this: back to the early 80s and listening to jazz-funk bands of that era: we best remember Freeez, but there was also Light of the World, whose Jean-Paul Maunick has led acid-jazz outfit Incognito since 1979.
Acid jazz blends jazz, with soul, funk and disco but always seemed crisper than any of its constituents, guaranteed to lift the spirits. Even though this is a 40th anniversary album, it sounds fresh and in no way a band resting on its laurels or catering for die-hard fans.
The opener typifies the album with a guest singer, Joy Rose, and lots of funky bass. In fact the album features a selection of collaborations, including Rose, who has appeared on four Incognito albums. You’ve only got to look at the other people Rose has worked with — Stevie Wonder, Chaka Khan, Herbie Hancock — to get a feel for the album. Soulful, even a bit of gospel, lots of funk, constantly upbeat. There are a couple of instrumentals — the George Benson-y Saturday Sirens is good.
The downside is it’s unvarying — it’s a genre and they’re sticking to it — but it’s enjoyable, both turned down low in the background or louder to perk you up. For fans of Incognito and Freeez but also the likes of Brand New Heavies, Galliano and Thievery Corporation.
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