*“I’m working on a piece now for Tommy Davidson,” said three-time Emmy-winning guitarist Chieli Minucci, who is currently promoting his band Special EFX Featuring Chieli Minucci’s 23rd album release “Twenty Twenty 2.” “We started recording a month before the lock-down. There were a couple of tracks recorded live the old fashion way…but everybody recorded their parts…then I pieced them together.”
Produced by Grammy-nominated Chieli, the “Twenty Twenty 2” project marks 40 years the band has been together. The new album offers 14 tracks – three covers and 11 new songs. Band members on the album with Chieli include Lionel Cordew on drums; Jerry Brooks on bass; Jay Rowe on organ; Richie Cannata on flute and saxophone; Mino Cinelu on percussion; John Favicchia on drums; Joel Rosenblatt on drums; Lao Tizer on Hammond organ and electric and acoustic piano; Gianluca Minucci on bass, Ric Fierabracci on bass; Nelson Rangell on flute; Dave Anderson fretless bass; Antoine Silverman on violin; Eric Marienthal on sax; Lin Rountree on trumpet, and Oli Silk on piano.
“We played during the pandemic,” Minucci told me when I asked if they were back out there touring face-to-face. “We streamed it and live we had a 50-person limit. We’re back to touring normal again. We play in the Urban market too.”
In fact, at the time of our interview Special EFX featuring Chieli Minucci was on tour promoting their new “Twenty Twenty 2” album. The tour continues with a show August 25, 2022 in Branford, CT at the Branford Town Green, October 28 in Miami, Florida at the Miami Smooth Jazz Festival and October 29 in Charlotte, NC at Middle C Jazz.
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“I was 24,” Chieli said about when he started the band with percussionist George Jinda.
Minucci said that the new album has, “All kinds of music (genres)…Rock vibe, ballads.”
I agree with him, the album masterfully mixes, Smooth Jazz, Country, Rock, Traditional Jazz and Funky Jazz. My favorite tracks on the “Twenty Twenty 2” project include the cover “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed” (#1) because I love how the Chieli makes the guitar sing and at times his playing reminds me of Eddie Kendrick’s guitar playing only with a Smooth Jazz influence; “Folks Like Us” (#5) because it’s a sweet majestic piece that changes to a Rock-n-Roll swing track; “Ceili Music” (#6) because of its Country feel that transforms into a Latin feel, then back to Country because of the influence of the violins of Antoine Silverman and ends with the bass of Jerry Brooks; “November’s Baby” (#8) because I love the Latin feel the horns of Lin Rountree and strings of Minucci give it, which is mixed with a jazzy piano solo by Oli Silk and ends with Chieli’s guitar crying; “I’m Leaving You” (#11) because of the crazy way the guitar is playing, it sounds almost Rock-like; “Ballerina Dreams” (#10) because of its sweet jazzy flow, and “Words Left Unsaid” (#14), which has Chieli Minucci solo on guitar, piano and beats, because its soulful sound which is interrupted by blast of high points where the guitar takes the listeners on a ride that mixes Jazz and Rock masterfully. www.ChieliMusic.com
SYNDICATED COLUMN: Dr. Eunice Moseley has an estimated weekly readership of over one million with The Pulse of Entertainment. She is also a Public Relations and Business Management Strategist and Consultant at Freelance Associates and is Promotions Director (at-large) for The Baltimore Times. www.ThePulseofEntertainment.com EVENTS: “Uplifting Minds II” Entertainment Conference (ULMII), founded by Eunice in 1999, is into its 23rd year. Next events are coming to Baltimore via Zoom Saturday April 16, 2022 presented by Security Square Mall and The Baltimore Times, and Los Angeles via Zoom Saturday, November 5, 2022. The ULMII event is a free entertainment conference offering a Professional Industry Panel Q&A Session, a Professional Talent Showcase and National Talent Competition (vocal, songwriting, dance and acting) where aspiring artists have a chance to receive over $17,000 valued in prizes/product/services. Log onto www.UpliftingMinds2.com for more information or to RSVP for Zoom Access email info@ThePulseofEntertainment.com.