Billboard Chart-Topper Jazz Artist U-Nam Goes Big Band! New Album
Coming off the back of a scintillating 2019 that saw him enjoy huge chart success with his 2 sensational albums "Future Love Parts 1 and 2" (that reached #20 on the Top25 Billboard Jazz Best Selling Album Chart and #8 in the Contemporary Jazz category) this is an exciting new direction for U-Nam to take but, with nine Top30 Billboard radio hits already to his name and an approach recognised as always innovative and often daring, his reputation for shaking the musical world to its core is already firmly in place.
"U-Nam Goes Big Band", a sumptuous eleven track rendering of sophisticated mood jazz, is made even more enticing by the amazing back-story that first put it on U-Nam's radar. A phone call to his Los Angeles studio from Estonian producer Mikk Targo is all it took. Targo, CEO and Founder of the Estonian Author Society EAU had, for the past several years, been working with a panel of music industry experts to select from what was generally regarded as the best one hundred songs Estonia has ever produced. As they did so a body of work emerged that was not only a glimpse into the nation's musical heritage but also an outstanding showcase for the renowned Lutz Krajenski Big Band.
The resultant album was released in 2016 accompanied by a "behind the scenes" television documentary yet Targo knew that if the project was really going to be a global smash a different approach would be required. Having heard his music played extensively on radio Targo was already a huge fan of U-Nam's work. When he explained his desire to transform what he already had into something altogether more jazzy, the prospect of creating Sinatra like, bossa nova tinged, big band driven music that crossed seamlessly over to instrumental jazz was, for U-Nam, just too good to miss. In addition it offered him an avenue to get back to why he had got into music in the first place.
To understand why this recording could not happen sooner, or what prevented songs of such potential from finding their way to the world's best artists; one has to understand the political landscape of the time where the all-pervasive Soviet regime excluded any such possibilities.
All that changed in 1991 when the country was finally recognised by the USSR as an independent state. Artistic freedom was restored and as part of that the first tentative steps were taken to bring some of Estonia's best songs to the notice of a worldwide listening public.
The musical magnificence of U-Nam is epitomised by the opening number, the luxurious "Something Right" where his interplay on guitar with the immaculate seventeen-piece big band lays down a marker that is replicated throughout. This is particularly so with "Beautiful, Beautiful" that finds U-Nam at his finest and again with the ultra smoky "Dance"that glides along on a delicious mid tempo beat.
The sultry "Each Day's a Gift" is delivered first as an exciting instrumental then later with vocals from the inaugural winner of the X-Factor UK TV Show Steve Brookstein. It is one of two vocal tracks with the other being "The Dance Must Go On" where Susanna Aleksandra evokes the aura of a New York supper club circa 1946. In every respect it is a musical extravaganza and much the same can be said of the warmly inviting "When You Fall In Love" that begins with musical sparring between Lutz Krajenski on piano and U-Nam on guitar.
It ensures a romantic opening to an otherwise upbeat track while elsewhere the dramatic first bars of "The One" lays a path to a Latin groove that U-Nam generates with his trademark playing style.
When the rhythm eases and the mood becomes relaxed the consequence is the wonderful "Saaremaa" and although the whimsical "In the Blink of an Eye" really swings it is the easy grooving "The World to Me", fuelled as it is by a picture perfect and understated brass section, that impeccably encapsulates what "U-Nam Goes Big Band" is all about.
Since moving to the USA from Paris, France in 2007, U-Nam's stature has skyrocketed. Now, as the founder and owner of the niche label Skytown Records, he is reshaping the many complexions of jazz in a way that makes him stand out from the crowd. His sophomore album "Back from the 80's" included the #1 hit "Street Life" which stayed in the top three on the US Billboard chart for three months and in the top ten chart for an entire year.
By 2014, when the critically acclaimed "C'est Le Funk" hit the streets, his standing as a purveyor of high-octane guitar driven smooth jazz was well and truly established. A real landmark moment in U-Nam's illustrious career came when he undertook the ambitious venture of creating the first ever tribute to the great George Benson.
Featuring jazz and r&b legends such as George Duke, Marcus Miller, Ronnie Foster, Patrice Rushen, Wah Wah Watson, Phil Perry, Stokley Williams and Paul Jackson Jr to name but a few, the album was endorsed by Benson and included liner notes written by him. "Weekend in LA - A Tribute to George Benson" reached #1 on iTunes Japan for Jazz, #1 on Amazon US for Neo-Soul, #1 on Amazon US for Smooth Jazz and also received Grammy consideration with 10 entries over 6 categories in 2012.
All this seems a far cry from when the then 16 year old U-Nam attended the C.I.M, 1st European Jazz School in Paris, where for three years he got to hang out and play with a whole raft of future jazz superstars including Angelique Kidjo, Andre Manga and Armand and Felix Sabal-Lecco as well as established jazz legends such as Andr? Ceccarelli, Pierre Cullaz and Tal Farlow. Yet it was these experiences and influences that, in part, have perfectly equipped him for the challenges of "U-Nam Goes Big Band".
As Mikk Targo describes it, "U-Nam is not only a phenomenal guitarist with his roots deep into jazz, he is also the consummate professional and a great musical story teller too.
Start with Benson-esque guitar skills, add just a hint of Sinatra's smile, a touch of Buble's sophisticated swagger and a real big band playing real jazz with a real swing and what you have is magic, what you have is "U-Nam Goes Big Band".
P.O Box 80762
RSM, CA 92688-0762
Press contact: Steve Cohen
U-Nam has played, recorded and worked with: Barry White, Kool & the Gang, Billy Paul, George Duke, Marcus Miller, Eric Benet, Dave Koz, Najee, Phil Perry, Stokley Williams (Mint Condition), Rahsaan Patterson, Patrice Rushen, Paul Jackson Jr., WahWah Watson, Paul Jackson (The Headhunters), Rick Braun, Jonathan Butler, Jeff Lorber, Jeff Golub, Maysa Leak, Ronnie Foster, Abiodun (The Last Poets), Daddy-O (Stetasonic), Norman Connors, Dennis Chambers, Andreas Oberg, Alsou, Luis Fonsi, Honeyz, MC Solaar, Ophelie Winter, Marva King, Tony Terry, Oleta Adams, Candy Dulfer, Deniece Williams, Brian Simpson, Euge Groove, Bob Baldwin, Tom Braxton,Gregg Karukas, Michael Paulo, Joey Sommerville, James Day, Cool Million and many more...
"The man known as U-Nam, is destined to become one of the most controversial musicians.In the few recordings that I have heard, there is a conviction towards making himself felt by the general public, and the critics alike. It's great to have a new voice on the guitar scene; one that is loaded with energy and excitement."
-Ten time Grammy Award recipient, NAE Jazz Master and Guitar legend- -George Benson-
Born and raised in Paris / France, U-Nam began playing the guitar at age 12, and studied for three years at the Paris-based CIM - the first European school for jazz - between 1986 and 1989. At age 19 he turned professional, becoming a fixture at Paris studio sessions.
Well known throughout Europe and the US as a musical trendsetter and innovative player in Instrumental Music, Soul, and R&B, Emmanuel "U-Nam" Abiteboul has more than earned his reputation as a virtuosic guitarist and producer. Since his move to the US from Paris, France in 2007, Guitarist U-Nam has had the opportunity to perform, record and produce several of the top artists in the Smooth Jazz, R&B, and Soul genres. He has traveled throughout the US at events and Festivals including the Catalina JazzTrax Festival, Jazz on the Green, the JazzTrax Big Bear Festival, the Dave Koz and Friends Cruise et al. His performances extend outside of the US, he performed as one of the headline acts at the Dubai Jazz Festival in February 2010.
Originally a renowned producer, U-Nam has worked with a number of International Artists including Barry White, Kool & the Gang, Honeyz, Louis Fonsi, and MC-Solaar, earning him several Gold and Multi-Platinum records. In 2007, he established himself as a prominent solo artist with the release his sophomore album, "Back from the 80s" which included the #1 hit "Street Life". "Street Life" stayed in the Top Three on the US Billboard Charts for three months and the Top Ten charts for an entire year.
In 2008, U-Nam signed with the prestigious guitar manufacturer, Ibanez. In their 2009 product catalog, he was honored with a double page feature alongside legendary guitarists George Benson, Pat Metheny, and John Scofield. He has since been featured in the 2010, 2011 and 2012 catalogs.
U-Nam has five album releases as a solo artist. "The Past Builds the Future" (2005) was #2 on SolarRadio UK (the largest soul radio station in the UK). The album had significant radio airplay in Europe and made it into the Top 47 on the US charts. "Back from the 80s" (2007) was the number one album of the year on Jazz FM, Steve Quirk's Fusion Flavours, as well as a #1 on the US Billboard Charts. "Unanimity" (2009) has reached the Top 30 on the US Billboard charts with his hit single "Shine On".
In recent years, he also released "The Early Tapes" and "The Best of." His latest album "Weekend In L.A" ( A Tribute To George Benson ) will be released on August 29th 2012. U-Nam also hosted a successful jazz series entitled the "One-Soul Jazz Series" at the Cellar in Long Beach, California. The series has included popular Smooth Jazz Musicians such as Gregg Karukas, Michael Paulo, Tom Braxton, Kim Waters, Gail Jhonson, and Greg Adams. He was also considered for the 2009 Grammy's in three categories including Best Improvised Solo and Best Pop Instrumental Song. In recent months, following the newly signed record deals with Village Again Japan and SkyTown Records USA, U-Nam has taken on the ambitious project of creating a George Benson Tribute, acknowledged as no small task by those familiar with the Legend's music. But according to GB himself, U-Nam is surely qualified for this undertaking.
This album includes a MEGA ALL-STAR line up of artists and musicians including many of the talented performers that appeared on George Benson's historic albums. Some of the artists on the album include but are not limited to: George Duke, Marcus Miller, Stokley Williams (Mint Condition), Phil Perry, Patrice Rushen, Paul Jackson Jr, Ronnie Foster, Andreas Oberg, Tim "TiO" Owens, Wah Wah Watson, Michael White, Dio Saucedo, and many more.
Within less than two weeks following its release, the album has already reached #1 on iTunes Japan for Jazz, #1 on Amazon US for Neo-Soul, and #1 on Amazon US for Smooth Jazz. It also has 10 entries in 6 categories for Grammy consideration. It has additionally received rave reviews from critics around the world.
As said by George Benson: "This monumental project includes some of my superstar friends who are among the world's best known artists of our time. It is an honor to be the subject of this new guitar and musical star. This project sounds FANTASTIC..."
in 2012,U-Nam also joined the Jazz/Fusion All-Star band "Grafitti" with a line-up that includes Dennis Chambers (Drums), Gary Grainger (Bass) and Haakon Graf (Keyboards). During their successful "Reunion" tour in California, highlighted by the Guitar Center Drum Off at the Club Nokia in Los Angeles, they released a live album called "Live in California". Grafitti also had a recently successful tour in the famous Igor Butman Jazz Club in Moscow, Russia. The show sold out every night. In light of this success, Grafitti is preparing for a tour in Europe and Russia.
This past year, U-Nam has been busy producing and writing with R&B Artist/Songwriter James Day. Their collaborations include "RSVP" featuring Donnie and "Divine" featuring Trina Broussard. He has also been working with Universal France to remix songs for Destan, the French Finalist for the celebrated Eurovision contest.
As an artist, he released 2 singles, "C'est Le Funk" which was selected as the Song of the Year on KHIT-HD3 ST LOUIS, and "Something's Up" which reached Top 29 on the US Billboard Jazz Charts and Top 15 on the SmoothJazz.com Charts. In 2014, U-Nam been touring to SoCal (Humphrey's San Diego, Spaghetinni Seal Beach, Jazz in the Gardens Palm Springs) as well as Malaysia for the World Youth Fast Festival. On September 8th, U-Nam released his latest album "C'est Le Funk" which went straight to the top of the charts on its first day, reaching #1 on the Amazon US "Best Sellers" List for Funk Albums, #2 for Smooth Jazz Albums and #19 in Overall Jazz.
Latest single "Throwback Kid" has reached #1 Smooth Jazz Best-Sellers Song on Amazon US and also #7 on the Radio Wave Monitor Top 100 Jazz Chart and #16 on the USAToday/ Mediabase Chart.
His recent performances have brought him to Dubai, Russia, Malaysia, Europe, the Caribbean Islands, and the US.
o Many Gold & Platinum Albums and Singles as a Producer & Remixer (EX: Double Platinum Album Barry White "The Ultimate Collection)
o 9 Songs as a Solo Artist in the Top30 Billboard Smooth Jazz National Airplay, #1 Major & #1 Indie on the Top50 Smoothjazz.com charts (Album "The Essential Collection), #3 Major on the Top50 Smoothjazz.com chart (Album "Back from the 80's), #5 Major & #3 on the Smoothjazz.com Top100 Albums chart (The Love Vault - Future Love Part 2 - 2019)
o #1 on Itunes Jazz in Japan and US (Album U-Nam & Friends "Weekend in L.A" A Tribute to George Benson)
o Brand New Album "Future Love" (2019) #20 on the Billboard Top25 Jazz Albums Chart and #8 Billboard Best Seller Contemporary Jazz Albums.
#1 Best Seller Jazz Albums & Smooth Jazz Albums on Amazon US, Top20 Best Seller Jazz Album on iTunes US.
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