Friday, August 23, 2013

Chieli Minucci & Special EFX Genesis Shanachie 2013

Chieli Minucci & Special EFX celebrate 30 years with a stellar outing in Genesis!
Brent Black / Bop-N-Jazz

I have been particularly tough on what is considered smooth jazz by many. Let's face it, as a radio format smooth jazz died about 2 years back and as a viable commercial commodity there are only a handful of acts making a difference. Chieli Minucci & Special EFX take smooth jazz proudly into the world of contemporary instrumental music with the same signature sound but a sound that has evolved and developed with the global musical landscape that is now finding a much deserved path into improvisational music.

While the cast of characters here are for the most part the same there are some notable cameo appearances from Lao Tizer on grand piano, acclaimed violinist Karen Briggs and David Mann continues to make noise as one of the finest saxophone players you may not be readily familiar with. Kicking the party off with the syncopated funky is as funky does "Crazy Eights" Minucci and friends are in fine form. Genesis develops with a delightful texture highlighted with the ambient vibe of the title track and the imaginative post modern composition "The Haunting."

Smooth jazz can come across as ear candy that has been sanitized for your listening protection. Chieli Minucci & Special EFX move the music into a very legitimate place as contemporary instrumental music that cuts a far wider lyrical path than some of his contemporaries. Organic, soulful and as always dedicated to original member George Jinda this is Chieli Minucci at his very best.

Tracks: Crazy Eights; Till The End Of Time; Mirage; Blue Lagoon; Far Away; So It Begins; Calico; Genesis; The Haunting; Your Smile, My Heaven; Club JZ; Wishing.

Personnel: Chieli Minucci: All Guitars, Some Keyboards; Any Programming; All Arrangements; Jerry Brooks: Bass; Lionel Cordew: Drums; Jay Rowe: Keyboards; Special Guests - Mino Cinelu: Percussion; Omar Hakim: Drums (Crazy Eights, Till The End Of Time); Lao Tizer: Acoustic Grand Piano (The Haunting); Karen Briggs: Violin: The Haunting; David Mann: Saxophone & Flute (Crazy Eights, Till The End Of Time; Calico; Mirage; Far Away; Club JZ; The Haunting); Xu Feiyu: Lead Vocals (Mirage & Wishing, Background Vocals); Vic Starsky: Lead Vocal: (Far Away, Background Vocals).