Special EFX – Deep As the Night
Seminal contemporary jazz super group Special EFX mark their 35th year of recording and touring in 2017 with the release of Deep As The Night their 21st studio recording and first celebrating their recent partnership with the Trippin ‘N’ Rhythm record label. Formed in 1982 the as the brainchild of the duo of Chieli Minucci and George Jinda, the combination of Chieli’s edgy driving style and George’s sense for temperament and melody struck a perfect balance and the rise of a distinctive new and original sound that incorporated heavy percussive world elements fused with smart, energetic, playful and memorable guitar lines.
With the untimely passing of George Jinda , Minucci made the decision to carry on as George would have wanted it and continue what they had started when they signed as the very first group to join the startup GRP Record label who went on to become the preeminent contemporary jazz record labels of the late 80’s ,90’s and beyond. Deep As The Night marks a reuniting some 25 yrs. later with label executive Jeff Lunt who was in part responsible for wooing the band away from GRP in the early 90’s and signing them to the JVC Music record label and a new beginning for the band who would go on to record three classic records.
Chieli Minucci, now the leader and driving force behind the band, has recorded and performed over the years with some of pop music’s biggest: Celine Dion, Lou Reed, Lionel Richie, Jennifer Lopez, Michael Bolton, Marc Anthony as well as some of the jazz genre elites, from Jeff Lorber to Kirk Whalum. Honored with a Grammy nomination for their Modern Manners CD, 10 Emmy nominations for his compositional work on The Guiding Light, of which he won three, his works in both film and television are well recognized writing and contributing music to Dancing With The Stars, American Idol, Good Morning America and soundtracks for No Country For Old Men, Bowfinger, Legally Blonde and Panic.
Deep As The Night marks a new beginning for a group with such a storied history and Chieli, always forward thinking, brings to the new venture with Trippin ‘N’ Rhythm a sense of musical renewal with a 12 song set that while sporting those trademarks that have carried the group throughout the decades, breathes with a fresh and youthful edge. The set opens with the title track that while it immediately establishes that Special EFX sound whisks you away on a beautifully melodic ride with the ensemble in full display. Another Day Another Smile highlights the knack of the true musical craftsmanship that Minucci possesses penning this lush and thoughtful side that leaves you with a smile on your face and is highlighted by the emotionally infected violin playing of Antoine Silverman.
The group, while always being self-produced, takes a leap and hands the reigns over to the young and talented player/producer Nicholas Cole on what will be the first single to radio, Lavish, an infectious hook driven set that is sure to score highly on the radio scale. Sax man Elan Trotman makes a cameo. Dance On The Delta, a highly syncopated thriller, is driven by a tightly knit rhythm section that lays a solid foundation for Chieli’s stylized guitar and Antione Silverman’s violin to freely share some dynamic interplay, making this one of the CD’s highlights. Tracks like Night Shift find the group in unfamiliar territory, exploring new corners of the genre introducing new non typical sounds and feels that while unique and interesting capture and keep your attention begging the question what’s next? The Drake inspired song Never Ending Love gives a wide open canvas for Chieli to paint some very soulful brushstrokes adding yet another dimension to an already diverse set. Endless Us closes the record and is one not to pass over as Minucci puts a strong period on the CD with a Moody Blues inspired rock anthem of sorts that is pensive, deeply dynamic and builds the entire project into an effective crescendo that leaves you the desire to go back for another ride.
Featuring many of the normal cast of characters; Jerry Brooks bass, Lionel Cordew on drums, Jay Rowe on Keys and Mino Cinelu on Percussion and cameo’s from Lao Tizer and Antoine Silverman, Deep As The Night is a deep and highly infectious new chapter in the musical book that continues and adds upon a long and storied legacy that will carry one of the genre’s early originals well into the new century.
Listen to some sound clips of the new album at Chieli Minucci’s website.