SOUL & FUNK ARTISTES FROM WEST LONDON
In the summer of 1984, Clyde Morris came to London and met bassist Chester, (A.K.A Godwin Sylvester) in a reggae band called W.O.W (Words of Wisdom). The band included the young saxophone prodigy Steve Williamson of the Jazz Warriors who at the time were a major force in the British jazz scene.
Before W.O.W, Chester played in a band called “The Enchanters” as the major support act for Misty (Inroots) taking part in G.L.C sponsored ROCK AGAINST RACISM concerts across the UK for four years which included a concert at ”The Rainbow Theatre” also featuring Pete Townsend (of 'The Who') & Friends, Aswad and The Clash.
Clyde played in various reggae, blues and soul groups and played in a band that supported Randy Crawford on her 1986 UK tour.
Unikque (pronounced ‘Unique’) was formed in the autumn of 1987 by bass player Chester and the guitarist Clyde. Based at West Star Studios in West London, auditions eventually found three sisters to perform vocals, Ann, Samantha and Bernadette who were collectively known as ‘THE SAPPHIRES’. The Sapphires from Berkshire, in the tradition of many great American artists started their careers singing gospel in the church and received rave reviews for their stylistic performances of varied music. Not only can these sisters sing, they can dance too, choreographing all their own routines. Ann and Bernadette provide the harmonies while Samantha tells it like it is, a truly inspirational vocalist for the rest of the band.
Also joining the band from Berkshire was drummer Kenny Williams, using electronic Simmons kit. Kenny had been playing in bands since school days and had a great feel for music.
In 1988 Unikque started doing headline shows concentrating mainly on the London venue scene.
In 1989, the band signed a performance contract on the books of Carousel Artistes Agency who were a major London based booking agency who provided gigs for the band at American Force Bases throughout the UK.
Kevin Sutherland, from East London, keyboardist and band leader for 90’s funk band Liberty was an ever present guest player on those early agency shows.
In 1992, versatile keyboardist Victor Matty joined Unikque teaming up again with Chester who was a member of Victor’s 12-piece soul/funk band “Full Circle” in 1986.
The following year also joining Unikque was seasoned acoustic drummer Cosmo Bowen who in the mid 80’s played in a soul band that had a recording deal with a major label Epic Records.
The ending of the Gulf War caused American bases to make so many cut backs that by 1994, 90% of them were forced to either shutdown their club or close the site completely. Unikque carried on doing live shows in the capital, playing at venues which included The HQ Club, The Rock Gardens, The Cave, Fresh at Bull & Gate, Russell Square University, The Orange, The New Pegasus and music industry show-case gigs on celebrity nights at Xenons in Piccadilly , London’s west End.
In 1996, Clyde left the band to pursue Blues projects and s currently playing in two bands at venues across the capital. He was replaced by a talented young lead guitarist from Sevenoaks in Kent, Mike Ross who had experienced some great moments being a member of the rock band INDALO and doing a live radio broadcast across London with members from the Brand New heavies.
In 2000, Unikque recorded a single “Gimme Your Love” in three versions featuring an RnB mix, a hip-hop mix by JD Flemming and a Dance Mix. The band’s current live shows are a mixture of popular 80’s soul & funk grooves and Unikque’s own versatile original soul & funk material, based heavily on the influences of the American feel and chord structure.
Welcome to the sound of UNIKQUE.