U-Nam - Future Love (2019)

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U-Nam -- Future Love

Upheaval in Emmanuel “U-Nam” Abiteboul’s life served as inspiration for his new project, Future Love.However, the title and the upbeat tracks heard on Future Love endow the project with sense of forward-looking optimism even as the record’s production techniques draw their inspiration from 1970s and early 80s instrumental R&B and jazz fusion. 

U-Nam -- Future Love

Upheaval in Emmanuel “U-Nam” Abiteboul’s life served as inspiration for his new project, Future Love.However, the title and the upbeat tracks heard on Future Love endow the project with sense of forward-looking optimism even as the record’s production techniques draw their inspiration from 1970s and early 80s instrumental R&B and jazz fusion. 

That’s not surprising. As is the case with much of U-Nam’s work, George Benson’s influence is palpable, particularly on “Changes” and “Is That So.” Both are upbeat numbers that place the spotlight on U-Nam’s soloing. These two tracks are a continuation of a welcome move to focus more or original compositions and to move toward arrangements that feature live drums and real rather than computer generated strings. Eleven of the 13 tracks are original compositions, with the exceptions being a funky cover of Luther Vandross’ “Get It Right,” and the breezy “Never Knew Love.”

The use of live strings on “Changes” connects that tune with the work that Benson did with Quincy Jones in the 1980s. “Is That So” finds U-Nam turning up the funk quotient through the use of a pumping bass line, as well as his energetic and creative soloing, while the laid-back “My Joy” has U-Nam showcasing his chops as both a blues guitarist and a jazz improvisor, while he and keyboardist Valeriy Stepanov end the track with a musical give and take.

The process of making Future Love was cathartic for U-Nam, but if we learned one thing this is an artist who knows how to make something pretty good out of bad circumstances. Recommended.

By Howard Dukes

 
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