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Incognito Biography

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Incognito In-depth Biography

An acid jazz} project with surprisingly deep roots in the 1970s jazz}/funk}/fusion} world, Incognito} was originally formed by Jean-Paul Maunick} (aka Bluey}) and Paul "Tubbs" Williams}. Both were leaders of the late-'70s disco}-funk} group Light of the World}, who scored several moderate British hits, including a cover of "I Shot the Sheriff."} Just after the release of Light of the World}'s third LP (Check Us Out}), Maunick} and Williams} shifted the lineup slightly and renamed the conglomeration Incognito}.

Incognito} debuted with the single "Parisienne Girl"} and released the 1981 LP Jazz Funk}, but were inactive during the rest of the 1980s. Maunick} continued to write material for his group, even while working with Maxi Priest} and others. (Williams} later moved to Finland.) By the beginning of the 1990s, DJ legend and early Incognito} fan Gilles Peterson} had founded the Talkin' Loud} label and he made Incognito} one of his first signings. The 1991 single "Always There"} (with vocals by Jocelyn Brown}) became a Top Ten hit as part of Britain's booming acid jazz} scene, prompting the release of Incognito}'s second album overall, Inside Life}. It was largely a studio affair, with Maunick} and engineer Simon Cotsworth} directing a large cast with many of the best musicians in Britain's fertile groove community.

With 1992's Tribes Vibes + Scribes}, Maunick} added a more established vocalist, the American Maysa Leak}. A cover of Stevie Wonder}'s "Don't You Worry 'Bout a Thing"} became another Incognito} hit, and the album ascended Britain's pop} charts even as it rose on America's contemporary jazz} charts. The third album, Positivity}, became the group's biggest album success, with much attention across Europe as well as Britain. Leak} unsuccessfully attempted a solo career with Blue Note}, leading to the temporary vocal replacement Pamela Anderson} (not the Baywatch} pinup) on 1995's 100° and Rising}. Leak} returned, though, appearing on the following year's Beneath the Surface}. Incognito} later expanded its discography with 1996's Remixed}, 1998's Tokyo Live}, and 1999's No Time Like the Future}. The group's next two albums were again made without Leak}, 2001's Life Stranger Than Fiction} and 2003's Who Needs Love} which featured Brazilian vocalist Ed Motta}. Leak} returned for 2004's Adventures of Black Sunshine}. ~ John Bush, All Music Guide

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