314 522 036-2 (Phonogram Records/Talkin'
Friday, 1st January, 1993 (United States)
Jean-Paul 'Bluey' Maunick
01. Step Into My Life
02. Still A Friend Of Mine
03. Smiling Faces
04. Where Do We Go From Here
07. Givin' It Up
08. Talkin' Loud
09. Deep Waters
10. Do Right
11. Pieces Of A Dream
12. Thinking 'Bout Tomorrow
13. Keep The Fires Burning
Preview, buy, and download.
"Positivity" a major plus-sign for British funk outfit *****
K. Mollan "Declan93"
In the early 90's a British funk group called The Brand New Heavies hired a singer named N'Dea Davenport and gave her four songs to sing on their self-titled debut.
After three of her four tracks became smash hits, the group realized they had a star on their hands, and for the album's follow-up there were only three tracks she WASN'T featured on. Another British funk outfit, Incognito, had a similiar revelation with Maysa Leak, as her soulful vocals -particulary on a brilliant rendition of Stevie Wonder's "Don't You Worry Bout a Thing"- provided the only bright spots (and hit singles) for the group's otherwise spotty "Tribes Vibes and Scribes" album. For 1994's "Positivity," a spotlight on Leak is the rule instead of the exception, and Incognito achieves greatness at last.
What's most impressive about this record is the seamless blend of genres. The chords and progressions are often undeniably jazz, Maysa's vocals are of a classic soul variety (imagine a slightly subdued Chaka Khan), the rhythms keep the funk quotient high and the hooks are dying to create pop singles. The fusion is immediately noticeable on the album's opener, "Step Into My Life," an energetic piece that manages to make its repeated scat as catchy as its worded chorus. "Smiling Faces" also incorporates something of a Latin-flavored samba element to its jazzy scatted-verse, sung-chorus formula.
Upbeat rhythms are of the majority throughout the record, and the percussion-driven "Givin it Up," the groove-heavy "Do Right," and the Mica Paris-flavored title track beg to be danced to the most. The James Brown-ish "Talkin Loud" is a rousing funk number with a singable chorus, and the midtempo "Still a Friend of Mine" is another winner that finds Maysa trading soulful vocal runs with duet partner Marc Anthoni. Meanwhile, two instrumentals show off the band's impressive chops and musical unity: the hypnotic ballad "Innervisions" has just as many stunning chord progressions as it does killer solos, and the mercilessly upbeat "Thinkin Bout Tomorrow" utilizes Incognito's horn section to its fullest potential. The crowning moment, however, comes on the fluid ballad "Deep Waters," which went on to become one of the band's biggest hits. The shuffling drum rhythms are classic Incognito, and a warm Rhodes keyboard and classy muted trumpet finish off the mood that Maysa's silky, enticing vocals sets in motion. This track makes for one of the finest moments in modern jazz.
Following a handful of work that only skirted greatness, "Positivity" finds Incognito sure-footed on their artistic path, staking a claim as the Rufus of the 90's firmly, joyfully, and righteously.
The Best Incognito Album. Great Jazz! *****
by Anthony Marray
Well the specific genre of Jazz this is considered is Acid Jazz. Incognito was at a creative and musical peak with this album. I recently sometimes hear "Still a Friend of Mine" on smooth jazz stations. From the opening of "Step into my Life" I was hooked. Maysa's vocal are incredible, and Bluey really lets his creative arrangements loose. Too bad I can't say that about Incognito's recent albums. If you like this album I would also recommend "Beneath the Surface" which is the second best album released by Incognito IMO.
by Joseph McGrath
you know usually I get tired of listening to a certain "type" of music after a while but I could listen to this cd all the time(slight exaggeration) but seriously, great styling ,creative harmonies,fantastic arrangements of all instrumentation,I can't believe that for as long as they've been around,I only heard about them randomly on pandora..Excuse me, i've got to start sampleing some more INCOGNITO JFM
Love Incognito *****
Incognito matches most any mood - romantic, mellow, upbeat, partying. the lyrics are fun and memorable and the range of voices is wonderful.
Incognito Keeping The Fire Burning *****
by Andre S. Grindle "Andre' Grindle"
With the edition of Maysa on their 1992 release Tribes Vibes & Scribes there was the feeling the Incognito was swiftly evolving into something other than a one off studio entity and into one of the major bands of the British acid jazz scene of the early 90's along with Brand New Heavies,Jamiroquai and the like. Unlike those two groups however,the music of Incognito is more likely to be found in the jazz section of a record store. Why is that though? For the most part acid jazz tends to be funk in disguise. But than again when it comes to jazz funk the term kind of gets murky. Weren't the best of the funk bands such as the JB's actually playing jazz to a big degree as well? Whatever the case what Incognito did here wasn't an insignificant contribution to funk either. Because they took all the music that inspired them-everyone from Roy Ayers,Stevie Wonder and everyone and added some modern production flavors to the music without instantly transforming into a bland variety of smooth jazz.
"Step Into My Life" is an excellent opener,a stepping disco-funk floor shaker and,as with the rest of the music on this album finds some very compelling lyrics linking adult romance and general consciousness into one big thoughtful stew. "Still Of Friend Of Mine" and "Smiling Faces" emphasize their understanding of that bubbling under the surface funk groove that hints at the possibility of a heavy dance grooves but keeps on that part of the one until the end. On "Where Do We Go From Here,the title son and "Inversions" the stepping dance-funk grooves maintains itself just fine. On this along with "Pieces Of A Dream" and "Thinking 'Bout Tomorrow" there's just a slight hint of that rigid 90's digital disco beat but not enough to take away from the rhythmic onslaught. On the other hand the mildly autobiographical "Talkin' Loud" and the closing "Keep The Firer Burning" turn the heavy funk up high,with Bluey's guitar and the high swinging horns really putting the TOP/JB's sound into full effect.
Incognito sometimes seem to be a band with a mild identity crisis at times,not always able to successfully bridge the gaps between jazz,funk and modern dance music without smoothing some of the edges maybe a little too much. But when they do...MAN the result is some of the most glorious and well produced modern funk of it's time. Lucky for them this album fits into the equation. Especially in the earlier part of their 90's comeback they were very much at their best and most firey. Not only that but Maysa was proving herself to be a major asset to the band,adding her strong and husky vocal power to the bands basic sound without smothering the sound they developed independently. Music like this would begin a link with the Verve Forcast label and the R&B/funk revival and reissue boom that would come in the years and decade to come. But while it was at it's most potent,it allowed for new funk to exist in just about every area of the record store. And also kept this band going and their music expanding further into the groove with each release.
Awesome Music *****
by Daniel C. Burse
Taking a page from Teena Marie, any music you get from Incognito is absolute "Ear Candy". This is the very fist full CD by Incognito I ever purchased a few years ago. I would take the CD with me everywhere and left it in a rental car in some city. Getting this CD again just puts a smile on my face 100 percent and I feel so good listening to it in the car, at home and taking it over to friends places! I recommend this CD to any and all as with Incognito's music, you can play it for the ENTIRE family and not skip one single TRACK!
by Jose R. G. Junior "Joseph Brazil"
We must don't forget that Incognito lead the way of a musical genre that combines elements of soul music, funk, disco, and another moods, beats and sounds. The compositions often feature chord structures usually associated with Jazz music and good music, but this time we have a album with a difference - real soul and beautiful compositions. Is it new? I think is a masterpiece, in especial way - Still a friend of mine - unique.
Still the Favorite Incognito album of mine! *****
by D. MITCHELL "Blessed of the Lord music lover"
With no bad tracks from Step into my Life to Keep the Fires Burning, this is Bluey and the Cogs signature project, hands down. Deep Waters alone is worth the whole purchase, but this is one of the best jazz funk albums ever pressed on disc. A MUST-HAVE!
Funky and Soulful *****
Smooth as silk yet still gives you the upbeat funky and playful feeling. Maybe it is just me, some how i can not find bands or groups nowadays that can produce jazzy soulful pieces like the 80's 90's bands did.