Today’s highly competitive music industry isn’t just a battle of emerging artists but unfortunately it’s also a battle of the existing and breakthrough genres. We’ve already seen the likes of the underground varieties such as Drum and Bass come through alongside Dubstep in recent years, conversely the UK Garage scene is now known as “Old School Garage” and a part of a weekly Kisstory Mix of classics. I say unfortunately in this case because, Jazz is particularly one of those genres which may be seen as outdated, or even a category which should be placed, by the younger audiences, on the shelves alongside the other Heart 106.2 classics.
This particular type of music admittedly has its own niche of an older generation of listeners. However, all of this is open to debate, especially for the younger Jazz lovers. Whichever music you’re into, you cannot deny that ALL genres of music should be given the respect and recognition of doing what they do best. I’m not saying that Jazz has been completely eradicated; I personally feel that if it’s not diluted into the mainstream, then it won’t be fully appreciated as it comes, but rather becoming indistinctive. We all know that some forms of musical genres or even artists would eventually be driven out by another; those 15 minutes are a harsh process which happens very quickly in the music industry.
Then again, I wasn’t much of a Jazz listener until I discovered the London-based Jazz/Funk/Soul band called Incognito a while back. They have had a commendable career with fifteen studio albums under the belt as well as other major collaborations with the likes of George Benson and Philip Bailey to mention just a couple. Wherever there is an Artist from my city or even manufactured in the London air, you can be sure that I will be first in line to promote them!! So whichever age category you’re in, whatever music you’re in to, you should definitely give Incognito a try.
One track which grasped my attention from the very word go, “Above the Night” from their current album Surreal. This song, as wisely stated in the lyrics, is ‘timeless’ and could not be far from one of the only songs last year to let Jazz earn back some of its credibility. The song was written by Jean-Paul Maunick, Matthew Cooper & Natalie Williams and produced by Jean-Paul (Bluey) Maunick himself with outstanding vocals from Natalie Williams. The track combines the best of soulful lyrics with instrumental blues led with enthralling keyboard and horn arrangements; it’s a very laid back and refreshing song. I’d say, it’s probably a good start into further educating or developing a taste in Jazz.
But that’s not all from the album which struck me as a masterpiece; “Goodbye To Yesterday” from the same album, is just another lyrically uplifting song to help lighten your mood. Written and produced by Jean-Paul Maunick and Mo Brandis, it is certainly a classy way to start a bad day. With an incredible bass line coupled with lush horn arrangements and drum patterns, this song just tops of Mo Brandis’ soulful and strong vocals beautifully.
Finally we have “Lowdown”, a song which features Mario Biondi and Chaka Khan from their album Transatlantic R.P.M released in 2010 – this one is what I call old but gold. Now whoever doesn’t know about Chaka Khan or hasn’t ever heard a whisper of her name echoed at some point in their life, must not know much at all about music. Slap on some of her strong vocal capabilities alongside one of Italy’s finest, Mario Biondi, with a sample of Boz Scaggs’ 1976 Grammy Award-winning R&B song “Lowdown” and you get one helluva upbeat song, with a groovy edge comparable to a classic from Motown legend Leon Ware – an artist whom of which also features on this album.
On a positive note, this legendary Jazz band has had 3 decades of major achievements and collaborations with some relative UK chart success in the early 90’s and continued successes in the US Jazz charts. Their current exposure however isn’t on such a larger scale as other mainstream bands such as The Script or to go bigger, The Killers. Whether that be down to the genre or not, there is no denying that Incognito and by extension, Jazz Music should be given an accessible space on the charts without it being diluted into a completely different genre. Incognito are on tour in the US in March and April to promote the Surreal album and you can find out their next tour stop HERE.