Jean-Paul Maunick (a k a Bluey) insists that his ever-shifting musical collective, Incognito, always has been and always will be a family. Anyone who doubted that claim had only to attend the group's show at the Warner Theatre Sunday night to be resoundingly convinced of it.
Incognito's latest incarnation is 13 members strong, with Baltimore native Maysa Leak as the vocal centerpiece. The two-hour show ran the gamut from whispery to raucous, but never lost touch with a steady groove, thanks chiefly to Bluey's choogling electric guitar and Julian Crampton's stellar bass.
An early Incognito record was called "Jazz Funk," and the styles incorporated in Sunday's show--acid jazz, Cuban strut and fusion--all derived from that melding. Highlights included Leak's simmering rendition of "Deep Waters" and Karen Bernod's sassy vocals on "More of Myself" and "Marrakech." Bernod and Leak teamed with Chris Ballin and Veronique de Margary to form a powerful vocal quartet, weaving in and around the diaphanous melodies of songs like "I Can See the Future" and "A Friend of Mine."
The Cuban trio Irakere, the horn section on the current tour, added muscular jabs to a version of Stevie Wonder's "Don't Worry 'Bout a Thing" and Incognito's biggest U.K. hit, Ronnie Laws's "Always There."