Incognito waves goodbye to the smooth side of jazz with perhaps the best soul release of 2014!
Brent Black / www.criticaljazz.com
To be fair there are two instrumental tracks, nice but well overshadowed by a funk laden retro soul sound that takes what might have been simply an ordinary release and aptly amps it up to the land of rhythm and groove. Amplified Soul is just that...this is not a contemporary instrumental release by the strictest of definitions but it is a pleasant and well crafted surprise from a group that has found that music sweet spot somewhere between the British acid jazz scene and a slightly more mid 70's soul sound that many have tried but few have conquered.
Amplified Soul is built around vocals with perhaps the only critical remark being that there are simply too many. At last count there were over a half dozen different vocalists with the noticeable absence of Maysa. Tony Momrelle and Vanessa Haynes carry the vocal load with "Hats" and "The Hands of Time" respectively. Production here is first rate and while the horn charts are at times predictable, the disc pops with color.
This is a soulful and soul filled excursion that the band has long needed. Granted that the handful of brick and mortar stores still standing and the various social media platforms will continue to champion this soul collective as "smooth jazz" - it isn't. It is way better!
If you dig Down To The Bone or Tristan then this is right up your alley!