Incognito incomplete without music

Incognito incomplete without music
Get to know Incognito: (clockwise from left, back row) Jean-Paul “Bluey” Maunick, Matt Cooper, Katie Leone Hector, Tony Momrelle and Vanessa Haynes.

British acid-jazz kings Incognito are true proponents of the life-affirming power of music.

"In life, you need food, sleep and money to have no worries," says the big band's leader, composer and co-founder Jean-Paul Maunick, better known by his nickname Bluey.

Speaking to Life! in a telephone interview from London, the 56-year-old adds: "For us, music is the fourth element. Without music, we would feel troubled. We would not be complete as humans."

Their dedication to their craft is what keeps the band going on strong 32 years after they first formed.

Fans here can get a taste of their upbeat and energetic blend of jazz, funk and soul when the band perform at a showcase concert at the Grand Theatre at Marina Bay Sands on Friday.

The gig is a preview of sorts to the inaugural edition of new jazz festival Sing Jazz, set to take place also at Marina Bay Sands, from Feb 27 to March 2.

Bluey and his band will also perform at the festival, touted as Singapore's largest event featuring jazz and jazz-influenced music.

Besides Incognito, the festival's star-studded bill includes British singer-songwriters Jamie Cullum and James Morrison, British band James Taylor Quartet, home-grown names Jeremy Monteiro and Alemay Fernandez, American singers India.Arie, Natalie Cole and Allen Stone as well as American trumpeter Roy Hargrove.

A collaboration with Indonesia's Jakarta International Java Jazz Festival, Indonesian acts such as singer Glenn Fredly and pianist Nita Aartsen will also perform.

While Bluey has been a constant presence in Incognito since the band were formed in 1979, the line-up, which includes members from England, Scotland, Sri Lanka, Israel and Jamaica, has been fluid and ever changing.

The touring edition usually counts a dozen members though, Bluey says, including at least three singers.

"Ideally, I would like to have 50 members up on stage, including a full string section," he adds.

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