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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Masterpiece by Special EFX


While some may see Masterpiece as a Chieli Minucci solo project because of partner George Jinda's affliction with a severely incapacitating illness, Jinda's spirit - channeled by the guitarist at every turn - is unquestionably present. the album's title is not far removed from the truth. Minucci's arranging and production skills are in superb form, as he layers tracks of guitars, keyboards, and programmed sounds into an aural feast. The title track wafts in on a huge synthesizer wind, coasting along with a great solo from Minucci, whose guitar playing is compelling throughout. He does beautiful acoustic work on the graceful "Bella" and speaks with musical eloquence to his stricken friend on the moving "No More Goodbyes." "Speak to Me" floats in on a bed of LP surface noise, speaker-bouncing keyboards, and, far in the distance, Barry Danielian's atmospheric trumpet. After a piano intro that emulates ocean waves, the spare, soulful melody of "Miami" sways as firmly and delicately as a palm tree. In light of Jinda's misfortune, tunes like "No More Goodbyes" and "Hold On" (the latter, with its beautiful Armstead Christian vocal) are deeply touching. Jinda, himself, contributed two pieces, "She Will Remember" and the heartfelt "Behold." Minucci's collaborator, Tower of Power saxophonist David Mann, flows like honey on both tenor and soprano, empathically keying in to Minucci's and Jinda's vision. There are many highlights on Masterpiece, but the most startling is the spacey, dramatic "Close Encounters," with its adventurous funk rhythms and its textural echoes of Weather Report. Moldy figs who turn up their noses at the mere mention of Special EFX need to check this cut out. A strong contender for smooth-jazz disc of the year, Masterpiece wrings a special level of joy out of personal tragedy and marks a new maturity for contemporary jazz.

--- JAZZIZ Magazine Copyright