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I'm always fascinated with the difference between musical competence and the kind of musicianship that creates monster hits. I think what it comes down to is a combination of strong, compelling compositions, a brilliant support team, and perhaps most importantly, a positive vibe that's a perfect match for the times. Enter native Parisian U-Nam (Real name - Emmanuel Abiteboul - "Manu" for short -- Note the reversal for his stage name U-Nam) and his new album BACK FROM THE 80's. It's got all the ingredients, and it's gonna be a smash. It's really the quintessential Smooth Jazz guitar album for today, with all the ingredients I just mentioned locked solidly in place. U-Nam's main musical influence is George Benson, which will be immediately apparent when you hear his playing. George himself has got to be impressed! I certainly am. This is an awesome collection of tunes, from the first hit single (a killer remake of the Crusader's classic "Street Life," featuring Jeff Lorber on Fender Rhodes) to an absolutely stunning instrumental version of the Benson hit "Turn Your Love Around." Actually there's not a single track on this disc that doesn't deserve airplay. This is a totally fresh, energetic tour de force into some 80's nostalgia and tasty originals... all with a very hip musical patina. U-Nam calls his music "Classy, Jazzy, Funky, Frenchy." I call it essential for this format right now. If you're a Smooth Jazz programmer and you're not playing something from BACK FROM THE 80's on your station, then your programmer's license should be revoked! ~SCOTT O'BRIEN - SmoothJazz.com

"All Music Guide"

Because this vibrant, super funky Parisian born and based guitarist (real name, Emmanuel Abiteboul) was born in 1970, it's likely he didn't hear some of the classic songs he's covering here -- and drawing inspiration from for the exciting originals -- until the next decade. But from the big horn opening, the disco-fied thump and old-school atmospheres of the first single and leadoff track, a cover of the Crusaders' "Street Life," it's clear that he's all about a '70s retro-soul groove. To that effect, he brings in the master of that vibe, Jeff Lorber, to add his sparkling Rhodes to the track that begins the disc's overall time travel seduction. When he's not giving direct shout-outs to his pop and jazz inspirations via cool and lively covers of classics by Lionel Richie (OK, "Love Will Find a Way" is from 1983), George Benson ("Turn Your Love Around"), and Roberta Flack/Donny Hathaway ("Where Is the Love?," which begins in a Stevie Wonder funk mode before easing into a crisp, midtempo vibe), U-Nam is creating joyful and breezy originals that pay homage to his guitar heroes Benson and Wes Montgomery. "Breezin' M.A," which borrows its title from Benson's breakthrough mid-'70s, instrumental hit, is a pure instrumental disco delight, its dance-pop mindset enhanced by U-Nam's effortless, speedy improvisations. Memorable original tracks like "Keep the Faith," "Slowdown," and the lushly orchestrated "Mister GB" are also guitar-driven, but remind listeners of the old days with clicking rhythm guitars and the Rhodes and B-3 magic of the guitarist's writing partner Franck Sitbon. In addition to ensembling with some of his fellow countrymen and a unit called the Paris Horns, U-Nam also works with some of L.A.'s top session guys, including percussionist Paulinho Da Costa and drummer Michael White. Soul singer Maysa Leak's wordless vocalizing and Andy Narell's always welcome steel pan touches add some exotica to another winning, heavily brassy track, "From Overseas." Smooth jazz fans who can't wait for the next Chris Standring or Norman Brown discs would be the first folks who would love this original guitarist with an even more unique name.
Jonathan Widran - All Music Guide

"JazzTimes April 2007"

Back from the 80's (Trippin 'n' Rhythm)

U-Nam, the stage name of twentysomething French guitarist and producer Emmanuel Abiteboul, defined disparity on his debut The Past Builds the Future with instrumentals, soul songs, downtempo, funk, rock and jazz jockeying for space. He seems determined to crack the U.S. smooth-jazz market on his second CD, however, and with any luck he’ll succeed. True to its title, the CD offers fresh versions of classic and lesser-known gems from the 1980s. But even more remarkable are the new, thoroughly modern tunes inspired by his favorite songs from the big-hair decade.
George Benson is the obvious influence here, and U-Nam’s soulful, electrified version of Benson’s vocal tune “Turn Your Love Around” is too cool. Elsewhere on the CD, Benson’s original lines and U-Nam’s new material coalesce into something of a new style: hybrid cover. Examples: “Keep the Faith” opens with an improvisation from one of Benson’s greatest hits, “Affirmation,” before setting into a relaxed and wholly original groove punctuated by a snappy horn section. And an instantly recognizable Benson riff from “Give Me the Night” pops up at the end of “Slowdown,” while “Mister GB” opens with a string section playing “Breezin’ ” before easing into new material.

Elsewhere, the mix-and-matching continues on Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway’s “Where Is the Love,” which channels Stevie Wonder’s “Boogie On Reggae Woman,” and Jeff Lorber’s tasty Rhodes solo adds spice to the Crusaders’ “Street Life.” U-Nam also covers Stevie Wonder’s “I Can’t Help It” with a talkbox hook and brings a disco bounce to an obscure Lionel Richie tune titled “Love Will Find a Way.”

Original tunes include the personal “Just a Kiss & Goodbye,” a sentimental ballad; “Just Like Real Lovers Do,” which features U-Nam’s trademark cascading guitar riffs, some wah-wah guitar riffs and a romantic sensibility a la Marvin Gaye; and “From Overseas” with steel pan legend Andy Narell and Maysa Leak’s scatting in time with U-Nam’s guitar.

-Brian Soergel
- JazzTimes April 2007


The Past Builds The Future
[Trippin' 'N Rhythm Records]

Reviewed by Rob Young

Date: Nov, 2005 [14 Tracks 73:39 Total Spin Time]

When this project was brought to my attention a month and some change ago I didn’t notice the title of the cd “The Past Builds The Future,” at first by the Paris born multi-instrumentalist U-Nam. With my usual prying eyes slightly off the mark, I had to readjust my focus soonthereafter I took advantage of the moment to delve into what U-Nam’s concept was behind the title of his debut cd on “Trippin' 'N Rhythm Records.” Let’s talk about it!
The lead track “From M.A. To L.A.” pen by U-Nam features one of today’s jazz most unique instrumental voices, Jeff Lorber on the Rhodes piano and Organ. Now, the title of U-Nam’s cd is beginning to come to life considering the fact he’s called Jeff Lorber to the studio to play on the first of five tracks on his debut! “From M.A. To L.A.” opens with drummer Franck Ridacker setting the pace for this hip radio friendly vibe with U-Nam’s sonically tight looping guitar licks accents this tasty jewel. At the 1:40 mark Lorber kicks in with his signature Rhodes sound. The track also features veteran saxophonist Gary Meek on soprano and alto!

On the next track Rahsaan Patterson makes his contribution as vocalist an co-author of “Love’s Taken Over.” The tune is no doubt catchy with U-Nam’s hook driven guitar licks are reminiscent of Grammy winning guitarist Norman Brown.

At the three spot U-Nam navigates the rhythms of “Urban Jazz” quite well with a piece called “I’m Only U-Nam.” The multi-instrumentalist is definitely no stranger to groove with trumpeter – flugelhornist Guiliaume Poncelet onboard brings just the right measure of intensity to the track!

Keyboardist Jeff Lorber is back in the big chair this time as co-writer with U-Nam on “çA Va Le Faire!” Now, you’re talking about hook filled grooves, this is undoubtedly on point! Radio, listen up this is the joint let’s do the darn thing, and play it!

At this point, mid-tempo grooves are clearly phase one of U-Nam’s trademark. His gift for the groove shines with another hip jam “L.A. Party,” features Gary Meek on alto and flutist Bobby Rangell! At the sixth position guitarist U-Nam serves up an additional vocal track. This time he called Leedia to the mic for lead and background vocals duties on “Blue Mood.” Yep, the r&b vibe is tight if that’s what you dig!

“Strike First,” the next selection features saxman Gary Meek once again. This track is undeniably typical smoothjazz, U-Nam’s chops, chords, melodies etc are tightly served up in the mix and it will certainly satisfy radio listeners everywhere. U-Nam calls vocalist Nyr to the set on “My Inspiration” which also features Franck Sitbon on the Rhodes with textures provided by Lorber at the bridge. Vocalist Nyr at times sounds like the renowned Stevie Wonder vocally. Lyrically this is my personal favorite vocal selection on the cd. U-Nam burns with authority he’s all over the fret, he’s working it in the mindset of a George Benson like flavor back in the day and his supporting cast is turning up the heat as well!

Once again the talented instrumentalist U-Nam kicks it in overdrive with the urban vibe on a track called “Soul Cantine.” Yes, you’ll find similar tracks on most smoothjazz recording. However, U-Nam cranks it up a notch or two featuring Gary Meek and Bobby Rangell on saxophones!

The intriguing yet dynamic vocalesse of Phil Perry comes to the studio as co-author and lead vocalist of “Right Here, Right Now.” This mid-tempo ballad is what the doctor prearranged, need I say more? One thing for sure U-Nam continues to keep his radiant mix of jazz, funk, soul and hip-hop with “Higher.” This funk and groove of this magnitude isn’t displayed at this level often enough in today’s smoothjazz.

U-Nam’s groove soars straight out of the pocket with yet another tight jam on what he calls “French Flavor.” This track has somewhat of a disco Latin beat strapped and tided firmly to the hip of jazz as U-Nam excels showcasing exuberant guitar skills that are influenced by luminaries like Quincy Jones, Wah Wah Watson, EWF, Mint Condition and a host of others. “French Flavor,” is definitely tight!

“Groovin’ Paris,” falls in at the thirteenth spot has vintage Lorber written into it. After all he’s featured once again! U-Nam and his partner in groove Lorber emphasizes the pure meaning of “The Past Builds The Future,” by enveloping the groove from back in the day accentuated by blending the voices of today’s jazz, funk, Latin, r&b and hip-hop! This track is straight in your face funk, “Groovin’ Paris,” is without a doubt bon-fide real deal!
U-Nam began playing the guitar at twelve, he also studied three years at CIM (1st European school of Jazz) by the tender age of nineteen he turned professional and became a regular session player in Paris. Did "Trippin' 'N Rhythm Records” take a calculated risk by signing the multi-talented U-Nam? I think not, they're stock soared with this diamond in the ruff that is well groomed and highly skilled, devoted and ready to play at first call. Once music lovers hear “The Past Builds The Future,” by the multifaceted U-Nam (songwriter, arranger, producer) they will not forget and soon demand more music by artist of this caliber in the future! - ContemporaryJazz.com

"JazzTimes March 2006"

U-Nam is a veteran session guitarist in France who has signed a deal with “Trippin’N’Rhythm” ,
the UK based label smooth-jazz label featuring Paul Hardcastle, Gregg Karukas and others. But while there are a few nods to the genre, “The Past Builds The Future” is more in tune with today’s nu-soul records than with smooth jazz.

U-Nam may play the guitar, but this is anything but a guitar record. Soul is the key here,as he recruited such crooners as
Rahsaan Patterson and Phil Perry to inject their old-school cool into the mix on “Love’s Taken Over” and “Right Here,Right Now”, respectively. Also contributing vocals are Stevie Wonder sound-alike Nyr-who also channels George Benson’s
vocalese on the frantic “French Flavor”-and Leedia, whose throaty soul stylings brighten the song “Blue Mood”.
Keyboardist Jeff Lorber is featured on several tracks, as is saxophonist Gary Meek.
The many collaborations and sounds on “The Past Builds The Future”-from smoothjazz, old-school, nu-soul, R&B and funk-
make it a robust and satisfying work. BRIAN SOERGEL - JazzTimes March 2006

"UNANIMITY CD Review 2009"

Nimble with the strings, varied in his influences and dynamic in his delivery, it has barely taken two CD's for jazz guitarist Emmanuel Abiteboul, better known as U-Nam, to establish himself as one of today's most exciting artists, producers and musicians. Elastic in his approach and eager to incorporate differing musical styles into his tracks (pop, funk and soul), U-Nam, as expected, follows up 2007's Back From the 80's with---what else?--- another delicious fusion of funk, pop, and contemporary soul.
Some of Unanimity's 14 tracks may remind some listeners of his inescapable George Benson influence (transposing animated, plucky guitar runs over sultry grooves), but U-Nam brings fresh verve to the mix on tracks like the sparkling slow-mo feel of "The Day I Met U," the irresistibly brassy, Sam and Dave-recalling "(Hang On) U-Is Coming " and the joyous, sun-lit title track, threaded with an impetuously funky bass line and peppered with a chorus that brings to mind the spiritual soul of an Early Earth, Wind and Fire. "My Heart & Soul" has murky, bluesy undertones, "4 Ever Urs" finds U-Nam making the guitar emote like any soul master's vocals could, and the tempest he creates with the melodic "U Could Make It Happen" is a tender, tantalizing one.
And, as if one multi-faceted musician wasn't enough, U-Nam generously shares his spotlight with others, including Franck Sitbon (acoustic piano, background vocals), Denis Bennarosh (percussion), horn players Thierry Farrugia, Christian Martinez and Bernard Camoin as well as soul stylist Marva King (on an exuberant remake of "Dancing In The Street") and jazz masters George Duke and Najee: the lead single and Mr. Duke's contribution, " Shine On," is a perfect percussive track to kick off an easy weekend, and Najee, who co-wrote the breezy "Soul Boy Reincarnation," contributed sax and flute to the jam as well.
From polished straightforward jazz to bursts of raucous R&B, Unanimity has it all: fans justifiably enamored with his first two CD's won't be disappointed, and for those who've unschooled on his prowess, U-Nam is an awe-inspiring original (all of this breadth and talent, and the man isn't even 40 yet!) and, thanks to this third-time charmer, is responsible for one of 2009's most enjoyable releases yet. For the jazz novice as well as for its aficionados, pop it in the changer, press play, relish and repeat.

Melody Charles - SoulTracks.com

"UNANIMITY CD Review March 2009"

Paris-born guitarist U-Nam has opened the “funkgates” on his latest album, Unanimity, scheduled for release on April 28 on the Trippin N Rhythm record label. The drive on this project is so infectious that you can actually feel and visualize the energy spewing forth. The combination of R&B grooves, jazz runs, and the unmistakable funk factor give this one a running start toward the top of the charts.

The opening, rather atypical piece (at least from a jazz perspective), “Viva La Revolucion” is a slowly marching brief tune that is so clean, melodic, and universal in appeal, while “Funk-4-U-Nity” is one of those “down & dirty” jams that begs motion and calls for a clear understanding of just what funk is all about. Following that, the up-tempo and catchy “Shine On” is a hook-rich and soulful offering that’s sure to get a huge chunk of airplay. Then, there’s the highly electric, stratospherically-charged title track which just sizzles with the vibrancy of U-Nam’s Ibanez guitar coupled with superior and harmonic backing vocals.

Gathering together some superb help from master flutist/saxman Najee, Matt Rohde on Rhodes, and canary-like vocals from Marva King, as well as stellar support from his own group of fine musicians (Franck Sitbon on the Rhodes, piano, clavinet, organ, and backing vocals; Dennis Bennarosh on percussion; Mike White on drums; and a keenly sharp collection of horns and strings), U-Nam (who’s personally handling guitars, basses, and keys) puts forth a sterling effort here bound for the highest musical ground.

Getting back to the tunes offered here, there are worthy selections that evoke memories of tunes and artists past--as well as cuts that demonstrate U-Nam’s ability to compose, mold, and play quality original material. The hooks throughout are distinct, the melodies are refreshing and pleasurable, the alternately bluesy and lightning riffs and chops (e.g.,”4 Ever Urs” and “My Heart and Soul”) from U-Nam’s Ibanez are fluid and masterful, the bass lines are definitely bottom-heavy and chock full of funk, and the percussions and drums add that undeniable rhythm and “flava.”

There’s flash and an occasional surprise throughout this album. A case in point would be the moderately paced “Soul Boy Reincarnation,” which begins as a handsome arranged slice of smooth jazz and funk and ends up with a nod to some cool ragtime. Love it! Oh, and then there’s a cleverly arranged cut that, while original, offers a throw-back chorus reminiscent of my favorite R&B duo of all time, Sam & Dave, as snippets of “Hold On I’m Comin’” are heard in “(Hang On) U- Is Comin’.” I’d also be remiss if I didn’t mention the Martha & The Vandellas monster oldie, “Dancing In The Streets,” as performed by the marvelous Marva King. Just try to sit this one out! Loving the mix between jazz and blues the way I do, I have to also tip my hat to the strollin’ “Losin’ My Mind.” Excellent work.

I tell you, one is truly in for a potpourri of listening treats with this project, as U-Nam sets out to truly provide the listener with some quality and diverse sounds. All in all, Unanimity is one of those productions that will enjoy a long, happy life everywhere smooth jazz and serious grooves are taken seriously.

by Ronald Jackson - SmoothVibes.com


Current Hits :

'Turn Your Love Around' to appear on HBO TV Show "THE BIG LOVE" 2009

"Street Life" Top 3 US Billboard contemporary jazz charts

UNANIMITY ( Trippin'N'Rhythm / SONY 2009 )

BACK FROM THE 80's ( Trippin'N'Rhythm / SONY 2007 )

THE PAST BUILDS THE FUTURE ( Trippin'N'Rhythm / SONY 2005 )

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Recording Artist and Chart Topping !!!
U-Nam; One of the greatest guitarists jazz has to offer and a Billboard top 3 artist is now available for booking!
Originally hailing from Paris France, U-Nam has recently relocated to the US and in just a few short months is already taking the states by storm! His soulful sound and mesmerizing melodies have kept him in constant comparison with the likes of George Benson, wowed the crowds at the Catalina Jazz Tracks Festival, commanded standing ovations at the Dave Koz and Friends Jazz Cruise, made him a favorite of Los Angeles’ largest jazz station The Wave, and that’s only the beginning. The stage is being set for the new year with the release of his highly anticipated CD “UNANIMTY” following his sophomore album “Back From the 80’s” which produced the chartbuster hit “Streetlife”. If that weren’t enough, promoters will be all over his ONE SOUL STARS concert package featuring U-Nam, Prince and the New Power Generation’s Marva King, and special guests, which is also available for booking and sure to be a huge hit and keep the crowds coming back for more!!!
Dates are filling up quickly, don’t miss your opportunity to be a part of jazz history in the making!!! Contact us today for more information!!!

U-NAm is an IBANEZ Artist

U-NAM : Symphonic Soul Virtuoso
Virtuoso- expert performer : a musician who shows exceptional ability, technique, or artistry.

U-Nam, the guitarist with a memorable name and an acrobatic, soulful and sweet melodic touch, has crafted music firmly rooted in funky smooth jazz but crossing into genres as excitingly diverse as R&B, Hip-Hop, Pop, Rock and Neo Soul. He calls it "Classy, Jazzy, Funky, Frenchy”.
He has written, produced for, and worked with artists such as Barry White, Honeyz, Luis Fonsi, Alsou, Kool & the Gang, Billy Paul, MC Solar, Cindy Daniel, Rahsaan Patterson, Myron, Maysa Leak, Phil Perry , Jeff Lorber, The Last Poets and Marva King.
His sophomore album “Back from the 80’s” produced the #1 hit “Street Life” which topped the Billboard Top 3 charts for 3 months and the Top 10 charts for an entire year. “Street Life” is still one of the most recurring played songs on top Jazz radio today. U-Nam recently moved from Paris to the US and is already performing with and praised by the top artists of our time.
Set to release his highly anticipated CD “UNANIMITY” early 2009, U-Nam is sure to take the world by storm with his unique sound and funky soul filled melodies!

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