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No one in their right mind would ever associate India with jazz music. But after listening to UNK’s I Only Have Eyes For You, you’ll definitely be changing your tune.
Also known as The Radha Thomas Ensemble, this six-member group is headed by vocalist Radha Thomas. Although she is trained in Indian classical vocals, the 20 years she spent performing in New York City’s most famous jazz clubs have molded her into a dynamic jazz singer. I dare say that her alluring voice makes her one of the most relevant performers on the music scene today.
In this album, which commemorates the band’s one-year anniversary, original material and re-arranged jazz standards showcase UNK’s eclectic style which is a mix of jazz, blues, Indian music, hip-hop, Latin and African rhythms. The band consists of keyboardist Aman Mahajan, guitarist Ramjee Chandran, saxophonist Matt Littleworld, bassist Mishko M’ba and drummer Suresh Bascara, each one a superb musician who can definitely hold their own. Together though they are really magical, their playing charged with a funk that makes them refreshing to listen to.
However, there’s no doubt that Thomas herself steals the spotlight with her sultry, smoky vocals. There’s a teasing, seductive quality to her voice that’s just absolutely hypnotizing. She holds your attention from start to finish, the rich timbre of her scats and effects putting you under a spell that you never want to break.
I can’t say I’m fond of the arrangement of the title track, but apart from that, I can’t find fault with this record. So do yourself a favor and give it a chance. I promise you won’t regret it!
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