Release Date: Nov 6, 2015
Record label: Fresh Young Minds
Genre(s): R&B, Pop/Rock, Adult Contemporary R&B, Contemporary R&B
Cool Uncle is the pairing of crooner Bobby Caldwell and producer Jack Splash. Caldwell is best known for his 1978 smash and classic R&B radio mainstay, the oft-sampled "What You Won't Do For Love," and a major re-appraisal of the blue eyed soul veteran's unheralded catalogue was initiated when J Dilla sampled "Open Your Eyes" on Common's 2000 classic "The Light. " While the past two decades have seen Caldwell align himself with smooth jazz and Frank Sinatra tributes like 2014's After Dark, Cool Uncle is a return to his soul roots, and Splash's trunk-thumping, genre-twisting, wall of sound production makes this an inspired collaboration between two musical mavericks.
After a chance connection via a Facebook message, Grammy-winning producer Jack Splash (Kendrick Lamar, John Legend, Jennifer Hudson) has teamed up with none other than Bobby Caldwell - yes, that Bobby Caldwell, the one with the 1978 classic "What You Won't Do For Love" has been sampled on approximately 21. 9% of all hip-hop songs ever released—and the result is a smash, taking equal parts funk, pop, smooth jazz, and yacht rock, (!) laying it all down on a solid retro-R&B framework. The group winks at the project's inherent adult-contempo cheese-factor with their moniker, but really, this is is the best freshest, and funkiest adult-contempo cheese imaginable.
When he released the brilliant AOR in 2013, Brazilian musician and noted record collector Ed Motta sought to replicate period correct versions of the titular genre. Having scoured his sprawling collection for inspiration, Motta and company managed to deliver a record very much in keeping with the legacy of studio savvy AOR artists who saw brief commercial success in the late 1970s and early ‘80s before becoming a pop cultural punch line. And while Motta managed to bring in like-minded musicians to help realize his very particular artistic vision magnificently, the majority of the album’s players were at least a generation removed from AOR’s original practitioners, having come to the genre well after the fact.
Vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Bobby Caldwell, one of those artists whose deep discography has been misunderstood (overshadowed by a major crossover hit), caught wind of producer Jack Splash's admiration and desire to work with him. After the two were put in touch with one another, they got along well enough to cook up Cool Uncle. Given Splash's past work with scads of high-profile singers and rappers, it's not surprising that the album's most potent songs have a foundation in the smooth and dapper end of late-'70s/early-'80s R&B.