(U)nity is the musical project, and collective ideal of five musicians from different corners of the world. Bringing to the group the musical flavors of Paris, Havana, Minneapolis, Providence and NYC, musicians Michael Valeanu, Axel Tosca Laugart, Chris Smith, Max Cudworth and Amaury Acosta have created an unlikely collaboration. In their mission of fusing Afro Cuban culture with modern jazz, soul, hiphop and gospel they’ve sacrificed neither virtuosity nor groove. Their latest release, Peace.Love&Music, is (U)nity’s manifesto, mission statement and first step to reaching all those who dream of being enlightened, refreshed and inspired by music again.
Conceived in the summer of 2006 by Cuban pianist Axel Tosca Laugart and Cuban American Drummer Amaury Acosta, (U)nity represented universal ideal for the two. They envisioned a collective of musicians whose every note would have the power to cross the lines that divide genres, countries and cultures and reach each listener, no matter his or her place in life.
“We wanted to make a fresh new sound . Fusing My New york / Cuban background, with Axel’s Afro Cuban background along with all the other sounds we loved listening to HipHop, RnB, Soul, Blues, Electronica, Weird Beat Music, Rock,Jazz,Soul, & Funk. We wanted to do something with Cuban music that’s never been done before. As Michael, Chris and Max came into the mix, things began to change and open up. Each member is a musical puzzle piece. They each bring their sound and life experiences to the table. We have a unlikely unorthodox collaboration. We’ve broken the rules of what a typical band is supposed be. In fact we stopped being a “band” a really long time ago. (U)nity is a movement. A collection of like minded artists. We pay homage to the past. We respect and know the history but we’re not held back by it.” -Amaury Acosta
In 2008, while studying at the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music in New York City, Axel and Amaury were joined by French Guitarist Michael Valeanu, Bassist Chris Smith and Alto Saxophonist Max Cudworth.
Each and every note has the power to cross the lines that divide music and reach each listener in its own unique way. Reflecting back on (U)nity’s strong heritage and eclectic modern influences, their sound have been influenced by: John Coltrane, Miles Davis, J Dilla, Chucho Valdez, McCoy Tyner, Wayne Shorter, D’Angelo, Robert Glasper, James Brown, The Soulquarians, Arnold Schoenberg, Led Zeppelin, Alan Holdsworth, Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers, Just Blaze, Jimi Hendrix, Flying Lotus, La Charanga Habanera, Los Mueñquitos De Matanzas, Brian Blade Fellowship, Thelonius Monk Pancho Quinto, Tata Guines, JayZ, Tony Williams Issac Delgado, Bon Iver, Kendrick Lamar, Irakere, Herbie Hancock, Derrek Trucks, Nas, Freddie Hubbard, The Grizzley bears.
They are now working on their second album and a documentary film entitled “(U)nity is Power”. The 16 track manifesto will feature Bass Hero Pino Palladio, Cuban Percussionist & Vocalist Pedrito Martinez, Multi Instrumentalist Devonne Harris Aka DJ Harrison, Vocalists Chris Turner, Lauren Desburg & J. Hoard, Flautist Elena Pinderhughes, and Bassists Luques Curtis, Chris Smith, DJ Ginyard & more.