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Special EFX –Deep As the Night

May 7, 2017

Since the late 1980s, we have been treated to the trademark jazz fusion stylings of Special EFX. Beginning as the brainchild of guitarist Chieli Minucci and drummer George Jinda, the band has enjoyed a devout and considerable following for over 30 years. When Jinda sadly left us in 2001, Minucci respectfully continued to record under the Special EFX moniker and has always made certain that he acknowledges his late partner in his liner notes. That tradition continues with the band’s latest recording Deep As the Night, a masterfully recorded and produced reminder of the wonder and creativity that has dazzled the World and jazz fusion universe for decades.

With all new and original compositions like the plush lead and title track, a finger-snappin’ Nicholas Cole-penned smoothie called “Lavish” (a tune on which the artsy keyboardist appears, as well), the very Chieli Minucci hook-rich “Night Shift,” the hauntingly moving “Garden of Eden,” and others, the band leaves no doubt that the years have been kind to their brand, and the music provides much space for your comfort zone to stretch and bend as you travel along this musical journey.

Always one to dazzle with his cutting and slicing riffs and sweet melodies that tell stories all on their own, Minucci again leans in close to your soul with many of these reaching tunes and sings sweetly via his very vocal guitar and oh-so-competent accompaniment. The texture here is, as always, smooth and pliable.

The fusion of Special EFX has always been a living, breathing entity, and it repositions itself with each recording, which is, of course, what keeps the band’s musical relevance so fresh. Just settle back and listen. – Ronald Jackson