U-Nam & Friends | Weekend in L.A (A Tribute to George Benson)
  • Release Date: October 9, 2013
#1 Best Selling Smooth Jazz Album on Amazon US

#1 Best Selling Smooth Jazz Album on Amazon US #1 Best Selling Funk Album on Amazon US #1 Best Selling Fusion Album on Amazon US #1 Best Selling Smooth Jazz Single on Amazon Us (Risin’ to the Top) #18 Most played album of the year on the Top 50 SmoothJazz.com end of the year chart (2015) #6 Top 50 SmoothJazz.com Chart #1 Indie Chart SmoothJazz.com Singles: “Smoovin’” (01/24/2015) #17 : US Top30 Billboard Smooth Chart "Risin’ to the Top" (02/06/2016) #17 : US Top30 Billboard Smooth Chart #1 for 4 weeks on the Wave.FM Top10 "Throwback Kid" (05/02/2015) #23 : US Top30 Billboard Smooth Chart #7: Radio Wave Monitor Top 100 Smooth Jazz Chart #16 USAToday/Mediabase Top 50 Smooth Jazz Chart Top 5 for 4 weeks on Sirius XM/Watercolors "Something’s Up" (05/10/2014) #29 : US Top30 Billboard Smooth Chart “C’est Le Funk” - Song of the year 2014 on Hip 96.3 HD St.Louis

Album Description

  1. Weekend in L.A feat. Andreas Oberg & Ronnie Foster
  2. Give Me the Night feat. Tim “Tio” Owens
  3. Shiver feat. Paul Jackson Jr & Tim “Tio” Owens
  4. Love X Love
  5. Nature Boy feat. Stokley Williams
  6. This Masquerade feat. George Duke, Marcus Miller, Phil Perry, Tim “Tio” Owens & Jeff Lacey
  7. Hip Skip
  8. I Just Wanna Hang Around You feat. Tim “Tio” Owens
  9. Turn Your Love Around
  10. Before You Go / Breezin’ feat. Patrice Rushen
  11. On Broadway feat. Tim “Tio” Owens & Jeff Lacey

Produced, Arranged & Mixed by U-Nam
Artwork Design by U-Nam

Reviews

Most tribute; recordings in virtually every sense of the word are a waste of time. With a great many tribute records you are treated to uninspired covers from talent that is simply there to earn a quick paycheck then it is off to the next gig or usually session work in an effort to pay the rent. Not here…For the uninitiated the guitarist from Paris known as U-Nam is essentially George Benson first blood part two, there may be only one other guitarist that could come close to pulling off a superb tribute release such as this but the guitarist is far too ingrained in the radio format driven sub genre to do so with the edge and vitality that U-Nam brings to the table. While Benson may be unfairly typecast as a smooth jazz guitarist, George Benson’s prolific talents stretch from the more fusion oriented CTI days to the smoother side of the jazz street and literally every sub genre in between. It is Benson’s versatility and virtuosity that elevate the artist slightly ahead of most contemporary guitarists. Everyone wants to sound like Benson, U-Nam takes the Benson sound forward and pushes it to another creative level. The talent here is first rate and includes Marcus Miller, Patrice Rushen and George Duke to drop just a few names. U-Nam’s riff on Benson is more soulful and when he reharmonizes a Benson classic he does so without disrespecting the original or himself which is the sign of a true artist. ;Weekend In L.A.&; opens this sonic soul fest with a kicked up sound full of syncopated flavor while U-Nam proves his is as technically proficient as he is artistically gifted. Bordering on a dance number there is a lyrical sense of urgency and harmonic development that is simply fresh and pops with vitality. ;Give Me The Night; is given a slightly more contemporary edge while breathing new life into a timeless classic with a hypnotic groove and U-Nam on point every step of the way. ;This Masquerade; goes from a dreamy ballad to an extended soulful and somewhat blues infused gem with the help of George Duke and Marcus Miller. The deceptively subtle hip hop beat pushes the reharm without mangling the melody or feel of the original. Closing out this most solid of recordings is the classic ;On Broadway.; U-Nam and friends turn ;On Broadway; into a flash fried funk infused flavor of soulful goodness. Say that three times fast! ;On Broadway; takes on a unique sonic pulse as do most of the tunes here. Tim ;Tio; Owens handles a great deal of the vocals and U-Nam could have searched far and wide and probably not found a better vocalist for these sessions. George Benson places his stamp of approval by contributing some liner notes to this release but the music speaks for itself. U-Nam accomplishes what few artists could, he opens the sonic door for a new generation to discover a jazz master but to do so with his own unique contemporary flair. A guitarist with U-Nam’s talents as a six string slinger of note could have easily pushed him to the more self indulgent route but instead this is a contemporary jazz collective that not only pays fitting homage to a legend but knocks it out of the park while doing so. Whether you are a fan of George Benson, smooth jazz and the new sound of smooth jazz which seems to be a musical happy place between R&B and fusion then you will absolutely dig this release. A former editor often cautioned me to be careful of telling a reader what to expect but if this release doesn’t move you then hang in there as your autopsy report should be finished soon! -Brent Black-CriticalJazz.com –criticaljazz.com

arely has one musician put down such a strong start as the guitarist originally from Paris, called U-Nam. Out of nowhere, he surprised the connoisseurs of smooth jazz scene with his albums The Past Builds The Future (2005), Back From the 80’s (2007) and Unanimity (2009). What unites all the albums is U-Nam –teenjazz.com

arely has one musician put down such a strong start as the guitarist originally from Paris, called U-Nam. Out of nowhere, he surprised the connoisseurs of smooth jazz scene with his albums The Past Builds The Future (2005), Back From the 80’s (2007) and Unanimity (2009). What unites all the albums is U-Nam’s ardent admiration for the master of Smooth Jazz George Benson. It begins with the partial selection of songs like Breezin’ M.A. or Mister GB and ends with the choice of his instruments Ibanez Guitars. What could be more than nails to do the job and create the ultimate tribute album Weekend In L.A. The album was in the air with thunder inspired by his visit at Benson’s home being invited by his buddy Robbie (one of GB’s son s) and his impressions he talked about in an interview lately. U-Nam has cut the umbilical cord of the record companies and funded his new project via Pledge Music. The album includes a mega-all-star line up of artists and musicians including but not limited to George Duke, Marcus Miller, Paul Jackson Jr, Phil Perry, Patrice Rushen, Stokley Williams ( Mint Condition ),Tim TiO; Owens, Wah Wah Watson, Andreas Oberg, Michael White, Dio Saucedo and many more. During the process of manufacturing I had the opportunity to take an inside view at the new project, which will be soon available worldwide. The album begins with Weekend In L.A. George Benson had released this Live album in 1977, a short time after his groundbreaking album Give Me The Night. U-Nam’s rendition overwhelms the listener with an abundance of guitar artistry. Give Me The Night is with large distance Benson’s No. 1 hit. It is missing on any of his concerts. Under Unam’s hands, the piece explodes into a megahit. Singer Tim TiO Owens has a major share of the goose bumps effect. Shiver from Benson’s album While The City Sleeps (1986) is pushed by Unam and Owens to a contemporary hybrid of smooth jazz, pop and techno music. Love X Love is following Unam’s principle to pump up the song into a showpiece. Nature Boy comes massive featuring vocalist Stokley Williams, lead singer of the band Mint Condition. Obviously it is the hard hip hop beat he likes and keeps him swinging and sweeping. Are there on the album also reflective moments? This Masquerade could be such a dreamy ballade. But under the direction of George Duke and Marcus Miller also this song progresses to a heavyweight. Hip Skip from Tony Williams album The Joy Of Flying (1978) reveals how deep Unam has explored Benson’s performing activity. He develops the piece into a colorful carnival of jazz rock. A shout out to Wah Wah Watson. Singer Tim Owens transfers Benson’s lyrical I Just Wanna Hang Around You from the album 20/20 (1985) into the rough reality of the present. Unam had already recorded Turn Your Love Around for his album Back From The 80’s. His new approach is bulkier with more verve and fire. On the medley Before You Go / Breezin Unam lets the melody flow. Nevertheless he cannot completely give up his fast guitar loops. However we can laid back and enjoy the melody line. The album ends with On Broadway. A bombastic blast featuring singer Tim TiO Owens, which will flash every listener. Unam’s upcoming album Weekend In L.A. demands the full attention of the listener. There is no place for soft tones. Unam rides with flying colors to Benson’s throne. –HBH–smooth-jazz.de –Smoothjazz.de

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