Bluey ‘Life Between the Notes’ (Dome) 4/5

blueyFounding member of UK jazz-funk legends Incognito, Jean-Paul ‘Bluey’ Maunick has gone solo with this latest project that combines elements of the classic Incognito sound, but differs in that the leader is now also the main vocalist and there are some interesting jazzy excursions thrown in to the mix. The mid-tempo format of the title track suits Bluey best of all and in the 1970s style vocal harmonies and the subtle jazz inflections, the singer-musician reveals himself to be in fine form. Arguably the strongest number on the album is ‘Columbus Avenue’ which combines spiritual jazz elements with soulful vocals and with a piano vamp that is straight out of Coltrane’s ‘Love Supreme’. A beat ballad, ‘Saints and Sinner’s’ serves as a pretext for some jazzy fender Rhodes musings while a sensitive soul number, ‘I’ve got a weakness for your love’ makes a pretty decent stab at a classy soul track even if the falsetto vocals need to develop further in this register. Back into Stevie Wonder terrain on ‘Trippin’ on this feelin’ which is the strongest club-oriented piece and this writer especially liked the atmospheric keyboards and Latin percussion in the intro. For more left field Dexter Wansel meets Pat Metheny fusion jazz, the gentle and lyrical number ‘Sunshine on the shores of Mars’ works a treat with an extended guitar solo. Only the unmelodic with thumping bassline and drums ‘Hold On’ does not impress. Otherwise, a fine solo effort.

Tim Stenhouse