INCOGNITO founder Bluey presents Ride Like The Wind, his third outing with his eight-piece band CITRUS SUN, largely comprising key members of the Incognito line-up.
Citrus Sun is a project born of Bluey’s love of soulful Jazz Funk instrumentals and the guitar playing of UK guitar legend Jim Mullen, who features once again on Ride Like The Wind alongside Incognito regulars Matt Cooper (keyboards), bassist Francis Hylton, guitarist Francisco Sales, drummer Francesco Mendolia and trumpet player Dominic Glover.
The obvious difference from Incognito is that Citrus Sun is largely instrumental, with stunning funky cuts like “Refugee" and "Calling Mr Wolf". There is also a five-part "Krabi Suite", which closes the album.
Says Bluey: “In terms of sound it is more sparse as it features the sole trumpet reminiscent of Donald Byrd. The bulk of the album stems from jam sessions recorded in Krabi on southern Thailand’s west coast. Fresh from morning boat rides to Phi Phi Islands, which jut from the sea like giant rainforested boulders, and the stillness and beauty of Railay Beach – a true paradise - the band’s creativity would flow endlessly. This idyllic location provided all the positivity and inspiration needed to fuel these recordings”.
One highlight of the album is the assured vocal debut of the band’s percussionist João Caetano singing in Portuguese on the 1981 Marcos Valle-Leon Ware song "Vontade de Rever Voce”. Joao also shot a wonderful video which will accompany the song. With footage taken whist Incognito toured Brazil earlier in the year, moments of beautiful intimacy are captured in a meeting with Marcos Valle. The most moving moment is at the end of the video when you see the late Leon Ware (Legendary Soul artist and song writer) and his wife Carol whilst on tour with the band in Japan. It is heart wrenching!
The other two vocal cuts include Imaani who’s voice soars on "Ride Like The Wind" – A mash up of the Christopher Cross worldwide hit and the Freddie Hubbard version. UK’s leading Soul Jazz songstress Natalie Williams sings lead on "Send Me Your Feelings”, originally recorded by New York-based Japanese jazz trumpeter Terumasa Hino.
Here is more about the band’s past activities and structure as told by Bluey himself...
The first album was released in Japan in the late 90’s and globally in 2000. The first Citrus Sun album Another Time, Another Place featured the Incognito rhythm section and UK virtuoso’s Jim Mullen on guitar and Dominic Glover on trumpet. This second Citrus Sun album People Of Tomorrow is a renewal of that relationship. Citrus Sun is a project born of my love of guitarist Jim Mullen’s playing and the desire to be part of a band with him.playing and the desire to be a part of a band with him. We have collaborated on several projects including Terry Callier and Mario Biondi. As a teenager I was just a fan. I avidly followed his career with Pete Brown, Kokomo, Brian Auger and the Morrissey/Mullen Band. I get great pleasure from playing with such an amazing musician.
Citrus Sun features the sole trumpet reminiscent of the late Donald Byrd as opposed to Incognito’s full section sound. There is a cool Latin Jazz flavour on some of the cuts. The distinctive sound of Jim Mullen’s thumbing guitar brings a tonal quality that is very different to Incognito, but at times it is obvious that this is the Incognito rhythm section and for that we make no excuses, but rather celebrate the fact that this is an extended project by the same band.
The title track of the album People of Tomorrow is a groovy tune that carries a positive message about the future.
The lyrics of the song carry a sentiment we all believe. “Children are the future, plant the seeds of greatness. Love must be a river through their wilderness. Fill their minds with wonder, a love so true and fearless. People of tomorrow, we owe them nothing less”!
Most the members of this band have been friends for decades. Valerie and I are from the same neighbourhood. I am an admirer of her style and she has appeared on several Incognito tracks in the past. Her Soul/Jazz and Folk sensibilities are a perfect fit for this projects. Her work with Galliano and Two Banks Of Four and Jamiroquai live and in the studio is a testament to her talent, and like the rest of the band, she is a joy to work with!
I was fortunate to produce several tracks for the late Terry Callier on his Speak Your Peace album. “What Color Is Love” is the classic we chose to cover. Valerie’s rendition carries a wonderful emotion that pays tribute to Terry’s original.
I had recorded “What’s going on” as part of the Red Bull Music Academy/Rai Radio jam session with Thundercat, Nate Smith & Jason Lindner over the original recording of Marvin Gaye‘s voice. This inspired me to do this version!
There are some tracks that are more connected with the Incognito sound. “You’re So Far Away” & “Cooking With Walter” (A title inspired by the incredible series Breaking Bad) began their lives as jams with the Incognito rhythm sections, and People of Tomorrow was co written with Incognito’s Bass player Francis Hylton.
A friend of mine gave me the Herbie Mann album Latin Mann (Afro To Bossa To Blues) prior to the recording of the album which turned out to be inspirational. “Tonight We Dance” and “Mais Uma Vez” are groovy, Latin Jazz tunes that resulted from listening to that album.
Matt Cooper, Francis Hylton, João Caetano, and Francesco Mendolia are current Incognito members, and they were vital to the sound of Citrus Sun. When we are not on the road then we are in the studio together. It’s not a gathering of session players, it’s a band!
My friends and production partners Mo Hausler and Richard Bull complete the team. In the studio Richard has played a strong part on several Incognito songs over the years, having collaborated with me on several albums as a writer, producer and musician. There is a magic between Richard and I that is always productive and special! Mo is a technical genius whose whose technicality is surpassed by his knowledge of music, he is that guy who can keep his head when all about him are losing theirs… A very important role in producing music with this crazy bunch.
The Citrus Sun is rising, come catch the sunshine!
(Leader/Producer of Citrus Sun and Incognito)