Chieli Minucci is in a celebratory mood, and he plans to let loose across the US throughout “Twenty Twenty 2.” That’s the title of the three-time Emmy winner and Grammy nominated guitarist’s contemporary jazz band’s fortieth anniversary album, which dropped last month. The leader and creative force behind Special EFX, Minucci wrote and produced the jazz, rock, fusion, blues, pop and world music album in isolation during quarantine. Now that Special EFX is back on the concert circuit, he relishes being able to commemorate the milestone anniversary with audiences and band members, including many of the sixteen musicians, who on occasion, had to record their parts for the album remotely.
The primary tracks for “Twenty Twenty 2” were recorded in Minucci’s New York City home studio. The composer, producer and arranger recorded fourteen new tracks, writing eleven new songs for the project during the first year of the pandemic. To complete the set list, he revisited two selections from his extensive catalogue, giving new life to “Anything & Everything” (reborn on the new album as “Everything & Anything”) and a live version of “Ballerina Dreams” that was recorded in the SiriusXM studios the week before the lockdown. Opening the collection, Minucci surprises by completely reconstructing “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed” in an epic, almost nine-minute-long version of The Allman Brothers Band’s tune.
In addition to featuring on acoustic and electric guitars throughout “Twenty Twenty 2,” Minucci added keyboards, synths, beats, shaker and vocals. Among the accomplished musicians performing on the album are keyboardists Lao Tizer, Jay Rowe and Oli Silk; saxophonists Eric Marienthal, Nelson Rangell and Richie Cannata; violinist Antoine Silverman; trumpeter Lin Rountree; bassists Jerry Brooks, Ric Fierabracci, Dave Anderson and Gianluca Minucci; drummers Joel Rosenblatt, Lionel Cordew and John Favicchia; and percussionist Mino Cinélu.
Minucci teamed with Hungarian percussionist George Jinda to form Special EFX in 1982. Together, they topped the charts, garnered Grammy nominations, and toured globally, including performances at premier jazz festivals. Sadly, Jinda passed away in 2001. Minucci has kept the collective going without missing a note ever since.
Special EFX launched its anniversary tour itinerary in support of “Twenty Twenty 2” over a month prior to the album’s April 22 street date. The band has concert dates booked through October, granting Minucci ample time to thank Special EFX fans from coast to coast for their enduring support.
Catch Special EFX featuring Chieli Minucci on the “Twenty Twenty 2” tour throughout 2022.
June 5 Saratoga Springs, NY Caffe Lena
June 12 San Diego, CA San Diego Smooth Jazz Festival
June 17 Birmingham, AL Steel City Jazz Festival
June 18 & 19 Atlanta, GA Velvet Note
July 16 Denver, CO Winter Park Jazz Festival
July 17 Vail, CO Vail Jazz
July 22 Pittsburgh, PA Allegheny County Sound Park Bandshell
July 23 Augusta, GA Capture the Rhythm Art and Jazz Series
August 5 Napa, CA Blue Note
August 6 Portland, OR Vanport Jazz Festival
August 7 Los Angeles, CA Spaghettini
August 25 Branford, CT Branford Town Green
October 28 Miami, FL Miami Smooth Jazz Festival
October 29 Charlotte, NC Middle C Jazz
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