TONY REMY & BLUEY: ‘First Protocol : Incognito Guitars’ (Label: Dome)

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TONY REMY & BLUEY: 'First Protocol : Incognito Guitars'

In theory and on paper at least, this Incognito side project featuring the ‘duelling’ guitars of Jean Paul ‘Bluey’ Maunick and ace axe man, Tony Remy, seemed to offer a potentially exciting musical collaboration – after all, given Remy’s high standing in the UK jazz fraternity and Bluey’s impeccable Incognito jazz-funk credentials, their joint creative labours should in all probability amount to something significant and maybe, if we’re lucky, even special. No such luck though. In actuality, the all-instrumental ‘First Protocol’ is disappointingly lightweight and even, I’m afraid to say, dull and slightly sterile – despite the presence of heavyweight funk meister Amp Fiddler playing keyboards on the Latin-tinged opener, ‘Beyond Jupiter.’ Mostly what ‘First Protocol’ amounts to is indulgent melodic doodling over ambient and largely programmed dance beats (exemplified best by ‘See No Evil’ and ‘Where Did You Go?’). If perceived solely as innocuous background or mood music, this CD is fine, but don’t expect it to engage you in the same way that Incognito’s music does…it patently lacks the soul that vocalists like Maysa Leak inject into the group’s sound (in fact, it’s a shame there are no vocal cameos here to add a bit of variety to the proceedings). Tracks like the fluid, fusion-lite grooves ‘Only Child’ and ‘The Other Side Of Me’ – arguably the album’s best number – are pleasant enough and will seduce some smooth jazz devotees, but they are also overlong and reek at times of muso self-indulgence. At least that’s my take on this album. Still, if mesmeric guitar-led smooth jazz is your thing, this might be right up your street musically speaking.
(CW) 3/5