Striking out on his own and flying solo musically is not always an easy task for Bluey. The guitarist, composer, singer, and producer is now leading his legendary UK acid jazz band Incognito into its fifth decade after its inception in 1979, and occasionally takes time to churn out music from the soul based side project Citrus Sun. But his newest solo release Tinted Sky became a product of the pandemic, and the isolation people across the globe were subjected to.
Tinted Sky is the third solo album from Bluey, aka Jean-Paul Maunick, following the success and highly received Leap of Faith (2013), and Life Between The Notes (2015). Working with former Incognito multi-instrumentalist Richard Bull, the two laid down and the music tracks and Bluey handled all vocals with his soulful low key, yet engaging style. While it’s never his intention to reinvent the Incognito sound, his solo projects do afford for creative freedom, in that the composing and instrumentation is tailored only to him. The result on Tinted Sky is an 11 song project that is deliciously smooth and rich with tempting R’n’B rhythms and vibes.
Had To Make You Mine is reminiscent of the ‘old skool’ disco era, with slick vocal layering of Bluey providing his own backup. Stylistically similar, You Are The One is soul-drenched in musical sophistication. Though a mostly entirely vocal album, Bluey presents a slightly slower tempo groove on Back Here Again, allowing his stylish guitar to take the spotlight, accented by limited yet soothing vocal chorus in what amounts to a subtle after hours chill out sound. The title track itself is fast paced with limited vocals, but and unrelenting heavy bass, and complemented by a funky electric guitar solo that is purely mesmerizing. Bluey takes a hopeful approach to a world in peril due to the environmental issues on Floating World, reminding us of it’s fragility but in a musical style that is far from ominous.
As to how Tinted Sky was conceived, Bluey says ‘Writing this music against the backdrop of the Global Pandemic which we all face, I find myself thinking about coping mechanisms – of we all draw and on to” He adds, ‘For me it’s music…my greatest weapon in this fight and my gift to help others through is music’.
Considering we are not out of the pandemic woods by a long shot, Tinted Sky is an excellent therapeutic musical remedy with which to enjoy.