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“Amplified Soul”, the 16th studio album from Incognito, consists of 16 new recordings soaked in soul, coated in jazz with more than a twist of funk and dance. Or as Bluey puts it: “This is a labour of love, a gift to those who have supported us over the years”.
Recorded and mixed at the legendary Livingston Studio in North London where The Buena Vista Social Club‘s eponymous multimillion selling first album was mixed and also Björk‘s 1993 debut album recorded and mixed, this album features singers Tony Momrelle, Vanessa Haynes and new addition Katie Leone who provide some of the best vocal performances ever recorded by the band. They are joined by legendary singer songwriter Carleen Anderson and Connecticut born funkstress Deborah Bond and the return one of the Incognito fans favourite Imaani, with the addition of a totally fresh voice on the scene in the form of the soulful 22 year old Australian debutant Chiara Hunter.
Guitarist, main producer and band leader Bluey once again leads his tight rhythm section of Francis Hylton on bass, Matt Cooper on keyboards, Francesco Mendolia on drums and the young percussion sensation Joao Caetano to create a bed of soulful funky irresistible grooves that are punctuated by the trademark Incognito horns. At times on this album the band navigates towards a darker sound than on their previous works offering the listener a new adventure with wonderfully crafted songs wrapped in warm tones. At other times they just get joyously funky!
There are guest performances by original Jamiroquai drummer Nick Van Gelder on two cuts, the awesome alto saxophonist Nigel Hitchcock, synthesizer wizard Ski Oakenfull, Elements Of Life percussionist Roberto Quintero, and Incognito regular contributor Richard Bull and many more. From the plaintive opening number “Amplify My Soul” you get echoes of a classic era that could be easily associated with Marvin Gaye or Stevie’s offerings from the 70’s, to the bubbly, bouncy, catchy number that is immediate and infectious “Hats (Make Me Wanna Holler)”, the album unites all of Incognito’s best character traits. If ever Incognito had a festival crowd anthem, then “Hands Up If You Wanna Be Loved” is it!
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I've must say that it's got the Incognito sound but it also has a slight edge to it, as Bluey has brought in some new personnel such as Katie Leone who's vocals are simply divine. I will say this which might upset many Incognito fans but I'm so happy Maysa isn't on this album as I felt her guest vocals on the last couple of albums were just not up to the same standard as the other vocalists such as Immani, Tony Momrelle. I will finish this off once I've listened to the rest of the album tonight.
I only received this lunchtime today, listened to it all afternoon and honestly can say this album rivals some of the very best ones Cog have done over the last 35 years.
All the tracks are great- personally I love Amplify my Soul, Rapture and Never Known A Love Like This but its really hard to call as this album will appeal to all die hard fans
Bluey has combined good old jazz funk with a mix of soul, swing and jazz plus a heavy dose of funk.
Tony Momrelle features on many of the tracks and his soulful voice adds depth to the music.
There are not enough superlatives for this album.....
Bluey-you're a total genius!!
AND the one major thing I was hoping Bluey would do which I think would have made such a difference........draft in Simon Hale. His string arrangements are something to behold and always add a very special dimension to the music. Check Mario Biondi's 'Sun' for proof. I bang on enough about Simon Hale when I'm presenting my Soul Trippin' Shows on the Hot FM likening him to the great Claus Ogerman and his work with George Benson.... But I'm being hyper critical I know because this new set of songs are generally good. But I'm not used to just 'GOOD' with an Incognito album. It's always an event for me when the Cogs release a new album and 'SPECIAL' is what you usually find along the way, but the feeling I still get listening to past masterpieces like 'She Wears Black' and 'Stone Cold Heart' prompt the question, 'are you gonna feel the same way about any of these 10/12 years later??'......I don't think I will