Posts Tagged ‘ Special EFX ’

Special EFX – All Stars

Special EFX was originally founded by drummer and percussionist George Jinda and guitarist Chieli Minucci in 1982. The musical concept of the group changed from world fusion to contemporary jazz and smooth jazz. After the 22nd Special EFX album Deep As The Night (2017), released on the Trippin ‘N’ Rhythm record label the group returns with the new album All Stars (2020) on the same label.

The new album features Chieli Minucci on guitars, keyboards, beats, accompanied by Steve Adelson (Chapman Stick), Joel Rosenblatt, Lionel Cordew (drums), Jerry Brooks, Gerald Veasley  (bass), Fernando Saunders (fretless bass), David Mann (saxophone, flute, horn arrangements),  Nelson Rangell (saxophone, flute), Eric Marienthal (saxophone), Jay Rowe, Lao Tizer (acoustic grand piano, keyboards), Maysa Leak (vocals), Regina Carter, Antoine Silverman (violin), Lin Rountree, Tatum Greenblatt (trumpet, flugelhorn), Mino Cinélu (percussion), and Mike Davis (trombone).

The music was composed, produced and arranged by Chieli Minucci except Little Wing, composed by Jimi Hendrix. The album is opened with Mr. Marzipan. Although marzipan in itself is a sweet and soft substrate, this piece is characterized by a tight horn arrangement into which Chieli pushes his guitar staccato-like.

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Special EFX – All Stars

Mainstay of the GRAMMY® nominated collective that is Special EFX, guitarist Chieli Minucci has spent a lot of time on the road the last few years with a revolving lineup of celebrated musicians who bring the band’s world jazz brand to life. When Minucci began writing the group’s 21st album that he produced, he came up with the idea of inviting each player from the rotating touring ensemble to perform on the album and even composed material with specific musicians in mind. The luminous result is “All Stars,” a title that is a nod to an accomplished supporting cast. The imaginative collage of contemporary jazz, world music and blues drops on February 14 on the Trippin ‘N’ Rhythm imprint. Radio will get its first sampling in the form of “Hanky Panky Boys,” a groovy, retro cool tune that finds Minucci’s guitar and organ getting into a heap of mischief with saxophonist Eric Marienthal.

“It was the first tune that I wrote specifically for the album and it doesn’t really sound like Special EFX, whatever that might be! I wanted to write something a bit different that we could play at jazz festival jam sessions, a piece that kind of sounds like a standard. Writing it got me fired up and inspired to write other music for the project,” said Minucci, who co-founded Special EFX 35 years ago with the late percussionist George Jinda and has amassed a host of Billboard No. 1 singles.

Minucci wrote thirteen songs for “All Stars” and scrapbooked the talented artists who brought his eclectic vision into focus along with his New York City-based core band members Jay Rowe (keyboards), Jerry Brooks (bass) and Joel Rosenblatt (drums). Among the dozens of guest stars on the album are violinist Regina Carter, saxophonist/flautist Nelson Rangell, trumpeter Lin Rountree, multi-horn player David Mann, Spyro Gyra drummer Lionel Cordew, bassist Gerald Veasley, keyboardist Lao Tizer, fretless bassist-vocalist Fernando Saunders, a longtime Special EFX family member who has a history with the outfit dating back to their formative years; and 2019 Soul Tracks Female Vocalist of the Year Maysa Leak, who soars mightily on a version of Jimi Hendrix’s “Little Wing.” Continue reading

Special EFX – Deep As The Night

A formation with long-lasting tradition. Special EFX was founded by drummer and percussionist George Jinda and guitarist Chieli Minucci in 1982. The musical concept of the group changed from world fusion to contemporary jazz and smooth jazz. Body Language (1995) was the last album Jinda and Minucci recorded together. In 1997, Jinda had just completed the album Here to Stay, he suffered a massive stroke, from which he never recovered until he died in 2001.

Chieli Minucci continues the project in memory of his former teammate with the 22nd Special EFX album Deep As The Night (2017), which will be released on the Trippin ‘N’ Rhythm record label. The new album features a cast of musicians, who are sharing Chieli’s musical activities, like bassist Jerry Brooks, drummer Lionel Cordew, keyboardists Jay Rowe, Nicholas Cole and Lao Tizer, percussionist Mino Cinelu, violinist Antoine Silverman, saxophonists Elan Trotman and David Mann.

The title song starts the set with guitarist Minucci and saxophonist Mann united in the creation of an eclectic work of harmony. Another Day, Another Smile shines with a wonderful sonic bliss of acoustic structure. The special nearness between Chieli’s guitar and Antoine’s violin is somewhat rare in the more traditional world of smooth jazz. A combination, aficionados of such music tend to expect in the music of Django Reinhardt.

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Special EFX – Deep As the Night

16265450_1161744453894607_5222774694315416811_nSeminal 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.
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Special EFX – Without You

Special EFX entered the jazz scene in the 1980s, created by guitarist Chieli Minucci and the now-deceased George Jinda. Since then, the Grammy-nominated group has recorded 26 CDs, with eight solo releases by Minucci. Without You (Chieli Music, 2010) presents a diverse collection of favorites by the original Special EFX lineup of favorites.

With Minucci are Jeff Brooks on bass, Lionel Cordew on drums, Jay Rowe on acoustic grand piano and Rhodes, and Philip Hamilton on percussion and vocals.

“You Make Me Blue” opens with a tranquil, almost haunting quality. But it quickly kicks into a more rhythmic, and slightly funky groove. Minucci’s layered guitar harmonies are the song’s central focus, but pay attention to Brooks’ cool bass line. Alan Grubner helps out on violin, including an ad-lib on the fade. This song appeared on the Special EFX landscape in 1992, when the group began experimenting with R&B-style jazz, better known as smooth jazz.


Chieli Minucci and Special EFX – Without You

Guitarist, composer, and arranger Chieli Minucci is the leader of the Grammy-nominated jazz-fusion group Special EFX, which he co-founded with the late George Jinda in 1984. A major force on the jazz and world music scene for 25 years, Special EFX’s newest release, Without You is a diverse collection of jazz-fusion, world rhythms, and the effortlessly flowing guitar artistry that Chieli (key-eh-lee) is known for. A true sound-tapestry, blending layers of sound and harmonic texture, Without You is an instant classic.

This brilliant double CD collection of tracks features the original Special EFX lineup of favorites – drummer Lionel Cordew, bassist Jerry Brooks, keyboardist Jay Rowe, and vocalist/percussionist Philip Hamilton – plus many brilliant guest artists, including keyboardist Jeff Lorber, violinist Karen Briggs, keyboardist Lao Tizer, vocalist Will Brock, bassist Dave Anderson, and violinist Alan Grubner.

Special EFX is one of the most prominent world fusion groups of the era. During the course of the band’s phenomenal rise to the top of the jazz charts, they released 25 CDs, including Chieli’s 8 solo releases and a live concert DVD. Seminal songs like “Daybreak”, “Cruise Control”, “Bella” and “Seduction” were among their chart-topping hits. This extraordinary super group takes their vibrant and exciting sound to the next level on its new Without You release, which encompasses diverse and eclectic sounds ranging from jazz fusion to world beat, pop vocals and rock-tinged arrangements.

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