Incognito founder Jean-Paul ‘Bluey’ Maunick presents his alter ego – eight-piece band Citrus Sun featuring acclaimed UK guitarist Jim Mullen.
Says Bluey: “Citrus Sun is a project born of my love for Jim’s playing and the desire to be part of a band with him. We are now good friends and I have collaborated with him on several projects, including Terry Callier and Mario Biondi, but as a teenager in the Seventies I was just a fan. He is an amazing musician.”
Mullen’s credits in a 40-year career include Brian Auger, Average White Band, Kokomo, Jimmy Witherspoon and the pioneering British jazz funk band Morrissey-Mullen.
The obvious difference from Incognito is that Citrus Sun is largely instrumental, with vocals from Valerie Etienne (of Galliano and Jamiroquai) on “What’s Going On” and Terry Callier’s “What Color Is Love”. There was an earlier Citrus Sun album released back in 2000, which also featured Jim Mullen in the line-up, and the new album “People of Tomorrow” is a renewal of that relationship.
“In terms of sound it is also more sparse as it features the sole trumpet reminiscent of the late Donald Byrd, and there is a cool Latin jazz flavour on some of the cuts”, says Bluey. “The distinctive sound of Jim Mullen’s thumbing guitar brings a tonal quality that is very different to Incognito, but at times it is obvious that this is the Incognito rhythm section and for that we make no excuses, instead celebrating the fact that this is a new project by the same band with me at the helm”.
Bluey worked as a producer on several tracks with the late Terry Callier and he regards “What Colour Is Love” as a Callier classic that was an obvious choice for the band to cover. He also worked on “What’s Going On” as part of the Red Bull Music Academy/RAI Radio jam session with Thundercat, Nate Smith and Jason Lindner, over the original recording of Marvin Gaye’s voice, and this experience inspired the Citrus Sun version.
Some tracks are more connected with the Incognito sound. “You’re So Far Away” and “Cooking With Walter” (a title inspired by the TV series Breaking Bad) began their lives as jams with the Incognito rhythm section and title track “People of Tomorrow” was co-written by Bluey and Incognito bass player Francis Hylton.
“Tonight We Dance” and “Mais Uma Vez (One More Time)” are stunning Latin jazz tunes that were a result of Bluey listening to Herbie Mann’s “inspirational” album “Latin Mann (Afro To Bossa To Blues)”.
“People of Tomorrow” is a fine addition to the Bluey discography, and shows him continuing to branch out following the 2013 release of his debut solo album “Leap of Faith”. Citrus Sun will be playing live dates during 2014, beginning with an album launch concert at London’s Under The Bridge on April 17
As he says: “The Citrus Sun is rising – come catch the sunshine!”
The full line-up of Citrus Sun is Bluey (guitar and vocals), Jim Mullen (guitar),
Valerie Etienne (vocals), together with Incognito members Matt Cooper (keyboards), Francis Hylton (bass), Francesco Mendolia (drums), Joao Caetano (percussion) and Dominic Glover (trumpet).