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“Sunshine of Mine” is the latest album from Billboard chart-topping artist and multi-platinum producer Emmanuel “U-Nam” Abiteboul. An eclectic concoction of eight original compositions plus two carefully crafted covers it opens with the easy grooving title cut that takes its name from the love U-Nam has for his six year old son Myles who, quite literally, is the sunshine of his life. Indeed, the sumptuous “Little Dreamer” again underscores the bond a father has with his son. From mellow beginnings that gradually evolve into a pulsating beat, U-Nam calls on the combined artistry of Kim Hansen on keys and Michael White on drums yet still stays at the epicentre of the entire piece.
A track already setting the airwaves alight is the shimmering “Make a Wish”. Reminiscent of the stellar work U-Nam was doing back in the nineties with some of the biggest R&B acts around, but with the addition of silky strings to bestow a veneer that is both sophisticated and soulful, this exuberant slice of up-tempo Smooth Jazz is just the sort of infectious cut that U-Namseems able to effortlessly deliver.
A case in point is the Funk laden “First Class”. It has Bill Steinway on keys plus Dwayne “Smitty” Smith on bass while, in collaboration with Raymond Gimenes, U-Nam creates a sublime string arrangement that in the capable hands of Lyudmila Kadyrbaeva on cello and Maria Grig on violin and viola is a joy to behold.
In similar vein is the high-octane, foot tapping “Hang on to a Star” and U-Nam shows off a different side of his musical persona with “Baile Do Brasil” that taps into the energy of the dance craze in South America and beyond where Latin Funk is the order of the day.
He stays in Brazil for a jazzy interpretation of Jon Lucien’s 1983 hit “Come with Me to Rio” while his classy reimagining of the Barry White smash “It‘s Only Love” (with Kim Chandler on background vocals) makes it sounds brand new. Another gem in an album crammed full of them is “Coastline”. Built around U-Nam’s impeccable playing and with regulars Frank Sitbon (Piano), Denis Benarrosh (Percussion) and Fran Merante (Drums) around to lend a hand they together conjure up a track that revolves around an irresistible mid tempo groove.
“Juicy Smile” is another example of what U-Nam does best. Cram packed with old school attitude and lifted by a powerhouse horn section that comes courtesy of Christian Martinez (Trumpet & Flugelhorn) and Joabe Reis (Trombone) this thumping dance floor filler in the making is the perfect vehicle to rejuvenate even the most tired of dancing feet.
With an approach that is both innovative and daring U-Namcontinues to be fearless in the way he repeatedly shakes the world of smooth jazz to its core. With “Sunshine of Mine” U-Nam has the perfect platform from which to show off his myriad of talents.
Talking of talents, from his recording studio in Laguna Hills, CA, U-Nam has most recently been reaping international success with his projects California Funk Machine Volumes 1 & 2. Volume 3 is rumored to be in the works while for “Sunshine of Mine” he is front back and center of everything and anything.
As well as playing lead and rhythm guitars, bass, synth bass, rhodes, keyboards, horns and carnival whistle he both programs, edits and adds lead and background vocals. Not only that, he writes, produces, mixes and masters throughout.
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