U-Nam – Future Love

Sometimes the making of music can be uplifting. At other times it can simply be entertaining. Yet in the case of Future Love, the brand new release from writer, producer and guitarist extraordinaire Emmanuel “U-Nam” Abiteboul the activity has been nothing short of cathartic.

From the debris of a complicated divorce that occurred in Autumn of 2018, this musical trendsetter with nine Top30 Billboard hits to his name has used the creative process to purge the emotions and relieve the tensions that for a while hung heavily upon him. Not only that, with the title Future Love he is making a bold statement as to what might come next, a message that particularly resonates through the zesty title cut which also happens to be the first single serviced to radio.

Indeed with eleven of his own compositions plus two sublimely selected covers “Future Love” shines with an optimism for the future that U-Nam clearly has. That said, far from being guilty of self-indulgence, he remains totally focused on the detail that invariably makes U-Nam’s music special. This extends to the way he deploys live drums throughout and real strings for songs such as “Changes” and the dazzling “Good Old Days” that come courtesy of Maria Grig on violin and viola.

It is this latter number that finds rising sax star Andrey Chmut playing a part and Chmut is also around to lend a hand with “Stick to It” that seems guaranteed to invigorate even the most tired of dancing feet. Elsewhere “Artbeat” is a feel good tune of immense proportions which includes Mattias Roos on Rhodes plus Dwayne “Smitty” Smith on bass while when U-Nam eases down the tempo for the mellifluous “My Joy” it is anchored by Alex Al on bass, Michael White on Drums, Valeriy Stepanov on keys and Kim Hansen on B3 to name a few.

Truth to tell this cooling of the mood proves to be only temporary as U-Nam utilizes the intensely rhythmic “A Change of Heart” to hit a high octane home run and although he keeps things fizzing with the wonderfully shuffling groove of “Before You Leave”, it is with “El Fuego” that he not only lights a Latin fire but also pays homage to his South European roots and ancestry.

Of course U-Nam is renowned for his penchant in breathing new life into some of the greatest soul songs ever made and here he is at it again, first with the Luther Vandross blockbuster “Get It Right” where the rap of the original is stripped away to leave Tim Owens and Kim Chandler on vocals to offer subtle support to U-Nam’s centre stage performance on guitar. Owens and Chandler also comes up big for U-Nam’s explosive take on the Katreese & Jerry Barnes composition “Never Knew Love” that was a hit in 1984 for Eumir Deodato yet truth to tell it is with U-Nam’s own compositions that “Future Love” really ignites.

Take for example the freewheeling “Every Time I Think of You” that is an authentic slice of west coast smooth jazz or the sunshine filled remix of “Is That So?” that was first released as a single in 2018. It is just the sort of infectious number that U-Nam, with his instantly recognizable guitar sound, seems able to effortlessly deliver and, much like the entire album, is at the very heart of the best in smooth jazz.

Future Love the album is due for release on Valentine’s Day (02/14/2019) while the title track will be going for adds on 02/18/2019.

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