Jean-Paul “Bluey” Maunick of British group Incognito knew as early as 1975 when he watched the “Thrilla in Manila” starring Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier that the Philippines would be among the countries thathe would visit and bring his music to.
The guitarist and producer got the chance to do just that when the acid-jazz funk group he founded in 1980 came to the country in 2008 and ignited the stage with such hits as “Don’t You Worry about a Thing,” “Still a Friend of Mine,” “Get into My Groove” and “Always There.”
“For me playing to the music loving Filipino audience was always a dream, and I was not wrong, it was a very responsive audience and I love every minute of that last show,” Maunick tells the Inquirer in an e-mail interview. “However, it has proved to be very difficult to find a promoter to bring us back.”
Fortunately for Incognito and Filipinos who love its unique brand of acid jazz and funk, Maunick was able to get in touch with All That Jazz Productions, which is bringing back Incognito as part of the first anniversary celebrations of Solaire Resort and Casino.
“We are all super buzzed that we are finally returning to the Philippines,” says Maunick, “We have an incredible band with huge energy and I cannot wait for the Filipino audience to see them shine! We bring an uplifting message in our music and we thrive on giving a good account of ourselves and the UK soul, jazz and funk scene that we represent.”
The audience for soul, jazz and funk is admittedly smaller than rock and roll and light rock, but Maunick, who formed his first band at just 8 years old playing sega or Mauritian folk music, says that like all things in life, “you can’t help what you are attracted to.”
“When I became aware of soul, funk and jazz, I saw my future. I knew I had found my destiny. Within those genres laid all the expressions, emotions and excitement that resonated with my mind, body and soul,” says Maunick.
He adds that he has seen the popularity of acid jazz dip and rise over the past 34 years but through all that time, the core fan base of Incognito has remained loyal and that never fails to inspire Incognito to continue playing its music.
“We have always made music for our own pleasure and for like-minded souls. We have never lost that fan base since our conception 35 years ago. We even wrote a songs about it… ‘True To Myself” and ‘Talking Loud’ are perfect examples,” says Maunick.
Also through the years, Incognito has gone through numerous personnel changes but unlike other bands that frowned on the comings and goings of musicians, Incognito welcomed the injection of new blood, believing that it only got better because of the continuing innovation.
“The band was always set up to evolve, and as opposed to the competitive attitudes of most bands we welcome change and embrace it for all the good that new personalities and fresh inputs can bring to our family unit,” he says.
Jazz and funk-loving Filipinos will get their chance to watch the latest family members that comprise Incognito on March 11 at the grand ballroom of Solaire Resort and Casino, and the group promises a performance that will only serve to cement its reputation as one of the music industry’s best live acts.
Maunick says he is particularly looking forward to performing for the Filipinos—whom he describes as great singers and musicians—as they definitely love music as much as he does.