Chieli Minucci and Special EFX
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.
Chieli’s latest project, the Special EFX CD “Without You” highlights an extraordinary career and is essential listening for his legions of fans. Songs like “Love’s Lost in Translation” blends Philip Hamilton's mellifluous voice with romance and angst in an exotic, world music setting. Long-time fans may recognize parts of “The Night Is Ours”, which is a completely re-written version of Special EFX’s 1982 signature song “Sambuca Nights”. Fans will also be entranced with “Hushabye”, which was originally released as the instrumental “Sweet Surrender” but has been transformed with the addition of the soulful vocals of Will Brock. And for George Jinda fans, the tune “Man with a Drum” captures his original percussion sounds.
Talented virtuosos Jeff Lorber, Karen Briggs and Lao Tizer are featured on tracks that may become the “new” classics for Special EFX.
“Legendary keyboardist Jeff Lorber is a brilliant musical collaborator on 'Mountina Jameroon'. I’m excited to have his high intensity electric jazz flavorings on the new Special EFX CD,” says Chieli.
“I brought Karen Briggs into the project after hearing her amazing violin work on Yanni’s Live at the Acropolis,” explains Chieli. “She takes the violin to another dimension on our songs ‘Lakeside’ and ‘Wonderboy.’”
Special guest Lao Tizer brings his powerful piano vibe to the tracks “Bacchanalia” and “Afterglow”.
“I discovered Lao when he was 19 years old and we’ve been collaborating ever since. I knew his high-energy, unique piano work would bring another level of emotion to these Special EFX songs,” says Chieli.
Showcasing truly incredible musicianship, Special EFX’s captivating jazz fusion textures and progressive new age twists take listeners on an uplifting musical ride they’ll never forget. “Without You” showcases the band’s special gift for combining harmony, feeling, and flawless technique with remarkable passion.
Chieli & co’s musical versatility and extraordinary abilities have made them a favorite among jazz fans worldwide. Aside from writing and performing his own music, Chieli shares his guitar brilliance throughout the entertainment world. He has recorded and performed with top artists Celine Dion, Lionel Richie, Jennifer Lopez, Jewel, Mark Anthony, Jessica Simpson, Anastasia, Marion Meadows, Alex Bugnon, Nestor Torres, and many others.
Renowned in the jazz and pop world, Chieil is also a gifted television and film composer. He has won 3 Emmy Awards and been nominated 10 times for his eclectic compositional work for CBS’ The Guiding Light. He has also written theme music for Good Morning America, Bloomberg Radio, and Access Hollywood. His music can also be heard on the soundtracks of the films Bowfinger, Legally Blonde, Panic, and others.
On the Broadway scene, Chieli composed and produced the soundtrack for the Broadway Across America/Nickelodeon live stage productions of the hit TV series, Dora the Explorer, which have toured internationally. He also wrote and recorded original songs for the live stage production of Thomas & Friends Live™. Chieli’s popular song "Kickin' it Hard" is featured as the prime hold music on Verizon's conference audio bridge system.