Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1084

Welcome to B&S

BRINGING YOU THE STORIES BEHIND MUSIC + ESSENTIAL NEWS, REVIEWS AND INTERVIEWS...

Live

Incognito 35th Anniversary: Shepherd's Bush Empire 12/7/14

Bluey -  Incognito 35th Anniversary - SBE 12-7-14 @bluesandsoul.com
Bluey -  Incognito 35th Anniversary - SBE 12-7-14 @bluesandsoul.com Vanessa Haynes - - Incognito 35th Anniversary - SBE 12-7-14 @bluesandsoul.com Tony Momrelle -  Incognito 35th Anniversary - SBE 12-7-14 @bluesandsoul.com Imaani -  Incognito 35th Anniversary - SBE 12-7-14 @bluesandsoul.com Incognito 35th Anniversary - SBE 12-7-14 @bluesandsoul.com Mo Brandis - Incognito 35th Anniversary - SBE 12-7-14 @bluesandsoul.com Katie Leone -  Incognito 35th Anniversary - SBE 12-7-14 @bluesandsoul.com Mario Biondi - Incognito 35th Anniversary - SBE 12-7-14 @bluesandsoul.com Carleen Anderson -  Incognito 35th Anniversary - SBE 12-7-14 @bluesandsoul.com Matt Cooper - Incognito 35th Anniversary - SBE 12-7-14 @bluesandsoul.com Vanessa Haynes - - Incognito 35th Anniversary - SBE 12-7-14 @bluesandsoul.com Tony Momrelle -  Incognito 35th Anniversary - SBE 12-7-14 @bluesandsoul.com Imaani -  Incognito 35th Anniversary - SBE 12-7-14 @bluesandsoul.com Bluey -  Incognito 35th Anniversary - SBE 12-7-14 @bluesandsoul.com Bluey -  Incognito 35th Anniversary - SBE 12-7-14 @bluesandsoul.com Carleen Anderson -  Incognito 35th Anniversary - SBE 12-7-14 @bluesandsoul.com Imaani -  Incognito 35th Anniversary - SBE 12-7-14 @bluesandsoul.com Tony Momrelle and Katie Leone Incognito 35th Anniversary - SBE 12-7-14 @BLUESANDSOUL.COM Mario Biondi - Incognito 35th Anniversary - SBE 12-7-14 @bluesandsoul.com Carleen Anderson -  Incognito 35th Anniversary - SBE 12-7-14 @bluesandsoul.com Tony Momrelle - Incognito 35th Anniversary - SBE 12-7-14 @bluesandsoul.com Imaani -  Incognito 35th Anniversary - SBE 12-7-14 @bluesandsoul.com Incognito 35th Anniversary - SBE 12-7-14 @bluesandsoul.com Incognito 35th Anniversary - SBE 12-7-14 @bluesandsoul.com

THIRTY five years is a long time to stay at the top in the music industry. So it was little surprise there was a celebratory feeling at the Shepherds Bush Empire as Jazz / soul / funk collective Incognito celebrated reaching the impressive landmark. Since the heady days of 1979, when the act was formed, Incognito have been at the forefront of the British soul scene, with a lengthy back catalogue to highlight their longevity.

Billed as a show by âIncognito and Friendsâ, founding member Jean-Paul âBlueyâ Maunick revealed to the audience â an eclectic mixture of ages â that it would be the actâs last London show for some time. Warm and charismatic, Bluey was in his element introducing the tracks from the past 35 years, his relaxed style bringing a gravitas to proceedings. âThe old manâs losing it,â he said after launching into an anecdote one track too early. But from the bandâs polished performance, there is no doubt that the 57-year-old was FAR from losing it.

The group took to the stage to âThe 25th Chapterâ, an early opportunity to show off âBlueyâsâ well-rehearsed direction, as all the musicians fell into a tight groove which quickly drew in the audience. The decade-old track gave way to latest release âHatsâ, as vocalist Tony Momrelle took the stage to deliver the first of many soulful performances.

Group member Vanessa Haynes took over lead vocals on the sultry âSilver Shadowâ as the act showed off their versatility. Crowd favourites âHands Upâ, âAinât It Timeâ, âItâs Just Another One Of Those Thingsâ and âRootsâ followed, before the first of the âFriendsâ, soul songstress Imaani, took to the stage. She delivered a belting version of âStill A Friend of Mineâ, and âRaptureâ.

An incredible percussion solo gave way to guest vocalist Mo Brandisâ rendition of âGoodbye To Yesterdayâ. Then Carleen Anderson took to the stage for performances of âTin Manâ and âAnother Wayâ. Always an impassioned and animated vocalist, she performed with an intensity which kept the crowd engrossed.

More favourites from Incognitoâs lengthy discography followed, with âBrazilian Love Affairâ drawing a big reaction from the audience before Italian soul singer Mario Biondi took to the stage to perform âLowdownâ.

Although the band had riches of material to choose from, âBlueâ introduced his homage to Stevie Wonder, with group vocalist Tony Momrelle leading a stunning performance of âAsâ.

Imaani reappeared onstage to take on lead vocals in âAlways Thereâ to great effect, before all the musicians piled onto stage to cover âHarvest For The Worldâ.

It was an impressive affair, with 21 musicians onstage for the finale, all of them a crucial cog in the Incognito machine.

There was a sombre moment as âBlueyâ paid tribute to fellow founding member Paul âTubbsâ Williams, who died in 2007. Yet it was a performance bourne from the sheer joy of performing music â throughout the two-and-a-half-hour set, band members rarely let the smiles fall from their faces.

This is an act whose members love what they do, and do it well. Thirty five years may have passed since the collective was first put together, with members coming and going ever since, but it is clearly a star that is a long way from burning out.

PHOTOS: DAVE BURKE
Words Dave Burke

From Jazz Funk & Fusion To Acid Jazz

Join the B&S Mailing List

Blues and Soul on Twitter