Rarely has one musician put down such a strong start as the guitarist
originally from Paris, called U-Nam. Out of nowhere, he surprised the
connoisseurs of smooth jazz scene with his albums The Past Builds
The Future (2005), Back From the 80's (2007) and
Unanimity (2009). What unites all the albums is U-Nam's ardent
admiration for the master of Smooth Jazz George Benson.
It begins with the partial selection of
songs like Breezin' M.A. or Mister GB and ends with the
choice of his instruments Ibanez Guitars. What could be more than
nails to do the job and create the ultimate tribute album Weekend
In L.A. The album was in the air with thunder inspired by his
visit at Benson's home being invited by his buddy Robbie (one of
GB's son’s) and his impressions he talked about in an interview
U-Nam has cut the umbilical cord of the record
companies and funded his new project via Pledge Music.
The album includes a mega-all-star line
up of artists and musicians including but not limited to George Duke,
Marcus Miller, Paul Jackson Jr, Phil Perry, Patrice Rushen, Stokley
Williams ( Mint Condition ),Tim "TiO" Owens, Wah Wah Watson, Andreas
Oberg, Michael White, Dio Saucedo and many more.
During the process of manufacturing I had the opportunity to take an
inside view at the new project, which will be soon available
worldwide. The album begins with Weekend In L.A. George Benson
had released this Live album in 1977, a short time after his
groundbreaking album Give Me The Night. U-Nam's rendition
overwhelms the listener with an abundance of guitar artistry.
Give Me The Night is with large distance Benson's No. 1 hit. It
is missing on any of his concerts. Under Unam's hands, the piece
explodes into a megahit. Singer Tim “TiO” Owens has a major share of
the goose bumps effect. Shiver from Benson's album While The
City Sleeps (1986) is pushed by Unam and Owens to a contemporary
hybrid of smooth jazz, pop and techno music.
Love X Love is following Unam's principle to pump up the song
into a showpiece. Nature Boy comes massive featuring vocalist
Stokley Williams, lead singer of the band Mint Condition. Obviously it
is the hard hip hop beat he likes and keeps him swinging and sweeping.
Are there on the album also reflective moments? This
Masquerade could be such a dreamy ballade. But under the direction
of George Duke and Marcus Miller also this song progresses to a
heavyweight. Hip Skip from Tony Williams album The Joy
Of Flying (1978) reveals how deep Unam has explored Benson's
performing activity. He develops the piece into a colorful carnival of
jazz rock. A shout out to Wah Wah Watson.
Singer Tim Owens transfers Benson's lyrical I Just Wanna Hang
Around You from the album 20/20 (1985) into the rough
reality of the present. Unam had already recorded Turn Your Love
Around for his album Back From The 80's. His new approach
is bulkier with more verve and fire.
On the medley Before You Go / Breezin’ Unam lets the melody
flow. Nevertheless he cannot completely give up his fast guitar loops.
However we can laid back and enjoy the melody line. The album ends
with On Broadway. A bombastic blast featuring singer Tim “TiO”
Owens, which will flash every listener.
Unam's upcoming album Weekend
In L.A. demands the full attention of the listener. There is no
place for soft tones. Unam rides with flying colors to Benson's
Buy the album
in all stores
Title: Weekend in L.A. (A Tribute To George Benson)
Genre: Smooth Jazz
Label: SkyTown Records
01 WeekEnd In L.A. [8:18]
02 Give Me The Night [5:44]
03 Shiver [6:31]
04 Love X Love [5:52]
05 Nature Boy [6:11]
06 This Masquerade [11:37]
07 Hip Skip [5:16]
08 I Just Wanna Hang Around You [5:40]
09 Turn Your Love Around [4:37]
10 Before You Go / Breezin’ [8:17]
11 On Broadway [9:21]
Bonus Track : Never Give Up On A Good Thing
- Back From The 80's
The Early Tapes 94/95