Formed in the late 1990s, Citrus Sun was born of Bluey’s love of guitarist Jim Mullen. For these shows they will be presenting music from their latest album, 'Expansions and Visions'. “If you look at Incognito as being the flagship of my career, consider Citrus Sun as being the indulgent - and for fun only - speedboat that rides alongside her. This band is our getaway, our live-for-the-moment statement”, he says.
The core of Citrus Sun is the Incognito rhythm section - Bluey, keyboard player Matt Cooper, bassist Francis Hylton, drummer Francesco Mendolia, percussionist João Caetano and guitarist Francisco Sales - who are joined by guest musicians and singers.
On the album is a gritty reworking of the Ashford-Simpson classic “California Soul” features Noel McKoy, with background vocals from Jamiroquai’s Valerie Etienne and Hazel Fernandes. Says Bluey: “We took a bold step in deciding to cover this, but I had a drum groove in mind and, in the absence of strings, a big guitar riff that I knew would give the song a fresh twist”.
Valerie takes the lead on a blistering version of Lonnie Liston Smith’s “Expansions”, described by Bluey as “a pivotal song in the soundtrack of our lives – a song most of us used to dance to in the London clubs”.
Bluey himself contributes vocals on several of the cuts, including the album closer “Thinking Of You”, a gorgeous soulful bossa duet with American singer Deborah Bond.
On “Back To Wonderland” Matt Cooper gets behind the drum kit and Rega also switches instruments to play piano on a tribute to Stevie Wonder.
In the past five years Citrus Sun have performed worldwide, including at London’s Ronnie Scott’s Club, Under The Bridge and Jazz Cafe, New Morning in Paris, the Blue Note Tokyo and Blue Note Milano as well as the Capital Jazz SuperCruise in the US and the Singapore Jazz Festival. They have enjoyed US Smooth Jazz chart successes with “Mais Uma Vez” and “Calling Mr Wolf”.
Line-up: JEAN-PAUL 'BLUEY' MAUNICK guitar, backing vocals; VALERIE ETIENNE vocals; JIM MULLEN guitar; DOMINIC GLOVER trumpet; FRANCIS HYLTON MD, bass; FRANCESCO MENDOLIA drums; JOAO CAETANO percussion; MATT COOPER keyboards