INCOGNITO: ‘Tales From The Beach’ (Label: Dome)

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INCOGNITO: 'Tales From The Beach'

You know exactly what to expect with Incognito. In fact, it’s true to say that their records offer very little in terms of surprise. But that isn’t necessarily a negative thing – far from it. Indeed, it’s the band’s reliability and even their very predictability that’s the key to their enduring popularity. In short, they never disappoint. Their music follows a familiar template comprising smooth, slickly-arranged songs that blend soul, jazz, Latin and funk flavours into an immediately identifiable whole that’s become the group’s signature sound. With that in mind, this new album – the umpteenth offering from Bluey Maunick’s long running jazz-funk outfit – is largely indistinguishable from its predecessors: the grooves are burnished, the vocals impeccable, the horns punchy and the tunes well-crafted. More importantly, it maintains the high quality of previous efforts like ‘Positivity,’ ‘100 Degrees & Rising,’ and last year’s ‘Bees + Things + Flowers.’ For me, the group’s vibrant, upbeat sound is synonymous with summer and there’s no better summer record around at the moment than this gorgeous collection featuring stunning lead vocals from Incognito stalwarts Maysa Leak, Joy Rose, Tony Momrelle and Imaani. Highlights here include the propulsive dancer, ‘I’ve Been Waiting,’ a chunk of earthy funk called ‘I Come Alive (Rimshots and Basses),’ and a lovely mid-tempo ballad entitled ‘I Remember A Time,’ featuring a sublime vocal from the ever-dependable Maysa Leak. Another predictably fine offering from the UK’s best jazz-funk band.
(CW) 4/5