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Jean-Paul Maunick - "Out of the incognito"

"Beyond colour and beyond creed, we are one nation under the groove"

Over the years Jean-Paul 'Bluey' Maunick, the guitarist and mastermind behind the Soul-Jazz-project Incognito has accomplished two things: He not only integrated into the group's music numerous directions like Funk, R'n'B, Brazilian Beats and more, at the same time he also always used to recreate the band in new "musical outfits". This constant change is part of the concept. In Bluey´s words: "In time every thing changes, nothing stays the same – cited from the song 'Morning Sun'. It was always the plan to diversify, variety is the spice of life."

Jean-Paul 'Bluey' Maunick

Besides Incognito, Maunick is – as a musician or producer – also involved in other projects. He modestly describes himself as an "average guitarist with a good sense of rhythm, more accomplished as a songwriter and producer." – In Maunick's musical world emotion is the most important thing. The latest album by Incognito, "Who needs love?" consequently has a simple emotional message: Feel good, stay happy. However, the lyrics underneath also show a critical view on social problems...

Carina: You once said that each "Incognito" album mirrors the musical and private period of life you are in. How would you describe the current period – what inspires you for lyrics and songs?

Bluey: I am thriving from being on the road again and there is a fire in my belly because I am angry at the current level of global injustices and I'm in the mood for a fight, one that unites us all. My chosen weapons in this fight to raise awareness are Protest, music and love. As for my personal love life, I am once again at a crossroad. Most inspiring for me at the moment are the colours and odours of spring.

Carina: "Where love shines" – also a song of your new CD – is basically a song about hope. Is this meant in a private or a more general way?

Bluey: Very often the messages in my songs are ambiguous. Hope is hope, wether it be personal or global. Where there is hope there is life!

Carina: The term "Incognito Family" reminds a little bit of a Clan, things like group-feeling, being part of a greater union of people come into the mind, but also the feeling of safety in a community. Why did the idea of a family arise?

Bluey: A band is a gang and I had become tired of being in gangs. I formed Incognito with the idea that it would become the UK's first Soul/Jazz collective, the idea was to share a musical platform with whichever musician or vocalist we gravitated to.

Incognito - "Who needs love?"

Carina: Since the beginnings of "Incognito" in 1979 you have been the mastermind behind the group. The band is successful in England, has a wide recognition in the USA, a great feedback in Japan. What about the audience in the other European countries?

Bluey: The fans are out there all over Europe, If the people know the record is out or the tours are on, we basically sell out where ever we go. The problem is purely radio and television. There is a trend in the UK and Europe towards a younger audience and with that a glut of manufactured bands. Without singles and videos it's bloody hard!

Without sounding boastful, we are one of the best live bands in the world and this new album has been well received by the majority who've heard it, but getting people to hear quality eclectic music is becoming harder and harder. This problem doesn't exist in Japan because everything gets an airing allowing the people to decide for themselves.

Carina: You are originally from Mauritius but live in London since several decades. Is London still "the city"? Is there always something that draws you back, or did you ever think of not returning when you were abroad?

Bluey: London may be my base, but "Where ever I lay my groove that's my home", and I've been laying my groove all over the globe for several decades now. I am drawn to the sun and the sea and my twilight years will see me return to the shores of Mauritius I hope, but that's a long way off! Many rivers to cross and much so much grooves to be laid!!!

Jean-Paul 'Bluey' Maunick

Carina: As a passionate traveller you always watch out for new cultural influences. Your interest in foreign cultures and living habits – how do you intensify your impressions of them?

Bluey: Those things are like oxygen, bread and water to me. I become aware of both my significance and my insignificance in the scheme of things. It brings me a greater understanding of my fellow men and of myself. It manifests itself in Bluey the father, the writer, the lover, the man.

Carina: How strong is the vision of a new Incognito-sound usually before you go into the studio? Do you choose the musicians accordingly – or is the outcome always in some way unpredictable?

Bluey: Once the script is formulated, the cast is assembled. There is however always room for improvisation and on rare occasions I have been known to change horses mid stream. Most of the time I have a strong sense of direction.

Carina: How much does your work as a producer for diverse other musical projects have an influence on your "child" Incognito?

Bluey: New journeys always opens one's mind. Information leads to inspiration. Incognito influences my production and in turn my work outside of the band indirectly influences Incognito.

Carina: As a guitarist - what equipment do you use presently? Guitars, amps, effects...

Bluey: What ever is lying around, I'm not fussy. I tend to use my Fender Stratocaster, a Gibson ES 335 and a Yamaha acoustic guitar most of the time. For amps in the studio I use a Cornford Harlequin combo, a POD or DI through Focusrite Red 1 Quad Mic-Pre-Amp. Also I use other Focusrite equipment, like the Red 2 Dual Equaliser or the Red 3 Dual Comp./Limiter. For a warmer sound I use the Dual Valve Equaliser, the Dual Valve Mic Pre-Amp/DI and the EQ-2012 by TLA. Sometimes I also plug in an Indigo Series Valve EQ.

For live I use a Roland JC120 because they've got them all over the world, simple and easy. Effects used are a delay pedal and a Wah Wah pedal.

Jean-Paul 'Bluey' Maunick

Carina: Paul Weller – did you come in contact to him before producing Terry Callier's single "Brother to Brother" where Paul contributed? How would you define your relationship?

Bluey: Paul is a friend first and foremost, I've known him for years. But I've always been a fan. We started around the same time, we are both fathers, we play guitar and we both love Terry Callier. This collaboration was inevitable.

Carina: Besides Incognito, does the project "Paradiso" together with your son Daniel still exist? What's the concept like nowadays?

Bluey: We are in the process of getting a release for Para:Diso in Europe via Challenge Records and Daniel and I are putting tracks together for a new album. – It's going to be a lot darker than the first album...

Carina Prange

CD: Incognito - "Who needs love?" (Boutique/ Universal 038 208-2)

Incognito im Internet: www.incognito.org.uk

Universal Music im Internet:

Fotos: mit freundlicher Genehmigung von Universal Music

© jazzdimensions2003
erschienen: 6.7.2003
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