The British music legends take time out to tell us more about their long relationship with Rhodes
Formed in 1979 by Paul “Tubbs” Williams and Jean-Paul “Bluey” Maunick, the band have blazed a trail in the UK funk/fusion scene with a prolific back catalogue spanning over 40 years. With new releases and tours planned for 2022, they show no sign of slowing down. During their factory visit in November 2021, founder Bluey and Musical Director Matt Cooper shared their passion for the Rhodes sound.
Rhodes: When did you first play a Rhodes piano? Matt Cooper (MC): When I was 18 years old. Rhodes: What made you fall in love with Rhodes? MC: THAT SOUND!!!!!! Bluey Maunick (BM): The year was 1973. I entered the basement of a record shop in London’s West End and heard a sound that would change my life forever… Herbie Hancock 'Head Hunters'. That same year I was exposed to 'Talking Book' and 'Innervisions' by Stevie Wonder. And whilst all those wonderful compositions, productions and performances by the best of the best were thrilling me to the core, one aspect of those recordings was bonding with my soul… The sound, I would later discover, was the Fender Rhodes. From then on it was all about digging in the crates for records with Rhodes on them from the obvious to the obscure. So in short from then to the present times the sound of the Rhodes has and continues to feed my soul!
Rhodes: Who are your favourite Rhodes Players? MC: Herbie Hancock and George Duke
BM: To trace my journey with the Rhodes, listen to all the music I produced and the bands that I’ve been in, Light of the World, Freeez, The Warriors, Inner Shade, Citrus Sun & Incognito.
Rhodes: Which Rhodes model do you own? MC: MK1 Stage
Rhodes: On which records do you think we can best hear that timeless Rhodes sound? BM: "Comes Calling”, Mario Biondi "Light To the World" (feat. Al Jarreau), Incognito “Zaius” Ski Oakenfull Remix, "Jacob's Ladder” (Feat. Graham Harvey) "Expresso Madureira” (Feat. Matt Cooper), "I've Been Waiting” (Feat. Simon Grey), "Parisienne Girl” & "Summer's Ended” (Feat. Peter Hinds), but I could not really describe my connection with the instrument better than on my self-released Bluey "The Story of the Rhodes" (feat. Tom O’Grady)”. Take a listen and make the connection. The Rhodes is more than a musical instrument, it's a magical weaver of dreams, a sonic provider of the inspiration information.
Incognito are in residence for six nights at Ronnie Scotts,47 Frith Street, London, 27 Jan to 1 Feb 2022. Check their new single: ‘Always In My System’ ft Bluey on all streaming services. Their legacy multi-CD boxset ‘Always There: 1981-2021 (40 years & still groovin’) is available from all good stores. Click through to Amazon via the link here.