was born as Emmanuel
Abiteboul in 1970 in
for artists such as
Luis Fonsi, Alsou, Kool
& the Gang, Billy Paul, Cindy Daniel and CNote. that
the guitarist decided to change his stage name.
By this time you may be asking: Just how did U-Nam come up with his unique name?
It was while releasing his first CD “The Past Builds The Future” He’s long been known
by those close to him as “Manu”
an abbreviated version of his first name. U-Nam
is simply “Manu” backwards. (“Breezin’
M.A.” takes its title from
the name of his Paris suburb, “Maisons-Alfort”,
and his young son, Melvin Abiteboul.) But the name works
on another level, he says. “When you say ‘U-Nam’
in French, its meaning is ‘One
Soul’ in English. I guess
that’s what I’m all about.”
new album "Back From the 80's" offers songs from the 80's
and new compositions. After the first tones one immediately remarks
the high professionalism of the album. That's no wonder because
U-Nam is supported by the Merkevah Orchestra and the M.A. strings
section conducted by Raymond Gimenes, furthermore by the Paris horns
(Thierry Farrugia, Christian Martinez and Bernard Camoin). With
such a fuliminant sound in the background every track gets its own noblesse.
starting track Street Life
was a huge hit of Randy Crawford and the Crusaders. “Some covers
were better suited to the album since I wanted to shine the melody on
guitar,” U-Nam says. “I’ve been a fan of ‘Street Life’ for
many years and the keyboard solo by Joe Sample.” If you are
familiar with the original you certainly remarks the identity with the
original. But U-Nam's version excels with Jeff Lorber's fine keyboard
art and U-Nam's superior guitar performance serving the instrumental
substitute of the vocals. A landmark of smooth jazz.
pure Philly sound. U-Nam enhances the original sound and is kicking
his guitar to fantastic licks. With Michael White on drums, Paulinho
Da Costa (percussion), Alex Al (bass) he is supported by musicians of the premier
was composed by keyboardist Franck Sitbon in the spirit of George
Benson. Franck co-wrote some tunes, played keyboards and sang
background vocals. Benson is one of U-Nam’s biggest influences and
favorite musicians. You will recognize his signature on more songs.
This sultry song get its attraction by the awesome guitar echo of the
has the same grade of George Benson recognition. U-NAM uses a guitar
with a similar sound and the typical reverb which is often to observe
on Benson's albums. An instantly recognizable Benson riff from “Give
Me The Night” pops up at the end of “Slowdown” “I wanted to
slow things down a bit on this track,” says U-Nam, explaining its
Turn Your Love Around
was written by Jay Graydon
exclusively for the greatest-hits collection by George
Benson on Warner Records (1976). A verse came from Steve
Lukather and Bill Champlin added bridge, other verses and
the background vocals. “I didn’t want to do a George
Benson song where he plays the guitar out front,” U-NAM
explains his cover version. “He’s an amazing guitar
player and my playing is influenced by his. So I decided to
do something brand new and make new guitar solos where his
vocals were. I’m happy with the way the melody comes out
is the final homage to
George Benson inspired by his great hit Breezin'. The tune
ends with a great horn section in a Big Band style.
Just A Kiss And Goodbye is
a romantic ballade in the style of the 80's. A full sound with real
strings, guest musicians Michael White (drums), Melvin Davis (bass)
and Paulinho Da Costa (percussion) makes this tune like all others to
a musical pleasure. U-Nam has worked out and arranged the details with
influence of Incognito is presented by scatting Maysa on the track From
Overseas. Andy Narell adds his
steel pan flavor. To the end of
the tune the song turns into a Brazilian cascade. Encore!
I Can't Help It was
written and composed by Stevie Wonder and Susaye Greene for Michael
Jackson's album Off The Wall (1979). U-NAM trickily polished up
the original by using the Talking Box. “I wasn’t sure if I wanted
to do it at first, but the talk box sounded so great,” U-Nam says.
“It reminds me of Roger Troutman and Zappa, who did the great
Just Like Real Lovers Do
could be a smooth jazz radio
hit, but U-NAM enriched the song with guitar riffs, running
and other gimmicks. I even heard an unbelievable breathed
sighing á la Jane Birkin. Delicious!
Richie's “Love Will Find a Way”
from his 1983 album Can’t Slow Down got a funky refinement.
That album had five smash hit singles, but U-Nam instead chose the
track that meant the most to him while growing up. Sweet guitar riffs
are colliding with hard dance beats. U-NAM's keyboards chords incorporates
many reminiscences to the sound of the 80's. That works. Highly
Flack and Donny Hathaway’s
Where Is The Love
is the final highlight of this remarkable album featuring singer Frank
shares so much memories with us. It's fantastic. This album is one of
the best smooth jazz albums I heard since several years. Without
exception strong songs, no filler. The UK Version features a bonus
disc of great vocal tracks including Rahsaan Patterson and Phil Perry.
My favorite track of this R&B side project is Blue Mood featuring
singer Leeda and Gary Meek on sax.