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U-Nam – C’est Le Funk

Aug. 28, 2014

French guitarist/producer U-Nam is again standing tall and looming large on the smooth jazz scene with another creative gem called C’est Le Funk. In addition to dazzling us with his graceful and funky instrumental work (and one funky delivery with vocals from Tim “TiO” Owens), the album is loaded with strong production and presence.

Wasting no time putting the groove into high gear from the start, the guitarist leads off with a driving track called “Smoovin’,” continues plowing ahead with the party groover “Something’s Up” and strutting right through the super-funky, hook-rich title track which features Nivo Deux (Nivo Deux is actually a project organized by U-Nam and wife Shannon Kennedy focusing on the incorporation of 80’s Pop, Smooth Jazz, and Electro-Funk).
 
At this point, we are now up and climbing through the clouds as U-Nam fires on all cylinders and takes us out into the stratosphere with his assortment of “grab ya” vibes.  His handling of Maze’s “Can’t Get Over You,” an R&Bish mid-tempo charmer that’s loaded with soul and a bit of sass, is simply masterful, as is his cover of Keni Burke’s bottom-heavy slick and funky “Risin’ To The Top” (a sensation U-Nam should have personally become familiar with a long while ago, if you ask me). As mentioned above, the one vocal track offered, a great cover of Fat Larry’s Band’s “Act Like You Know,” is mightily delivered with “TiO” Owens exercising his pipes to full effect.

Employing such effects as strings on select tracks here, U-Nam remains committed to pulling out all stops in bringing you the best he has to offer  – and, needless to say, that’s a lot. With his “never miss” recipe of funk and style, he guides us through a kaleidoscope of sound, employing Benson-like runs and flavorful phrasings. We often say that this artist or that one is like no other, and U-Nam clearly demonstrates with each release that his name should always be among those stand-outs. With that in mind, you’ll find C’est Le Funk to be as much a stand-out. – Ronald Jackson