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Jazz 17/06/2020

World Jazz Band Special EFX Emerges From Quarantine Ready To Shine

World Jazz Band Special EFX Emerges From Quarantine Ready To Shine
New York, NY (Top40 Charts) GRAMMY nominated world music-contemporary jazz band Special EFX was in Denver one month into their concert tour promoting their 21st album, "All Stars," when the coronavirus pandemic forced their return home to shelter in place. For band leader Chieli Minucci, home is the epicenter of COVID-19 in the US: New York City. After three months of quarantine, Special EFX will resume its concert tour this Friday when they take the stage of Southern California jazz hotspot Spaghettini for a show performed in front of half the capacity of normal in order to comply with Orange County restrictions. The concert will be streamed live at 8pm PT/11pm ET via Spaghettini's Facebook page (

"I feel GREAT about resuming the tour! For three months, I've been writing and recording in my home studio, so I'm fairly limber as far as playing guitar goes, but all that solitude has gotten to me as much as anyone else. I can't wait to play for a melody-hungry audience. I can't wait to see the guys and play the songs again," said Minucci, an Emmy-winning composer, guitarist and producer.

Minucci will share the Spaghettini stage with keyboardist Lao Tizer, drummer Gene Coye and bassist Ric Fierabracci. When he last led his band of rotating collaborators to whom the album title refers as "All Stars," the new collection had been out for four weeks and the band's blues-jazz single, "Hanky Panky Boys," was moving up the national charts. When the plug had to be pulled on the tour, they still had another month of concert dates ahead of them before playing Minucci's hometown album release concert that was slated to take place in New York City at The Cutting Room on April 11. No timeline yet for when that show can be rescheduled so when the opportunity was presented to play the new music for fans in person as well as for a global audience via the livestream, Minucci was eager to make it happen. While many artists began livestreaming pseudo concerts during quarantine, Minucci does not feel comfortable in that setting, but he does embrace livestreaming a performance where he is actually on stage with his band members.

"Livestreaming is definitely here to stay although traditional live concerts will certainly return once the all-clear has been sounded. Streaming shows has been around before this, but now is becoming more mainstream simply out of necessity. As long as the video/audio work is elegant, it can be a cool, unusual and different kind of experience for our audience. When I fell in love with that irresistible combination of music, touring and hanging with the guys and gals of the arts, I never imagined the world would experience something like what is happening right now," said Minucci.

Another reason that Minucci leapt at the opportunity to resume the Special EFX tour was to begin introducing the forthcoming second single from "All Stars," "Mr. Marzipan," which will begin collecting playlist adds on August 10. The track opens the new collection with a horn-powered dose of fusion, contemporary jazz, an off-kilter funk/hip hop beat and a vibrant chorus illumined by David Mann's saxophone and Lin Rountree's muted trumpet along with some tasty electric guitar riffs issued by Minucci.

"The sax and trumpet combination was completely new for Special EFX, who usually does not feature a horn-based vibe. Dave is our longtime sax-man and Lin is my label mate at Trippin N Rhythm. After hearing their inspired playing, I knew the song could use a big, fat horn section to top it off to add that final sweet frosting so to speak. David Mann's fantastic horn arrangement makes the tune the perfect 'sister-song' to our first single from the album, 'Hanky Panky Boys,' which had a similar horn section arrangement. The song's inspiration was the opening bass-keyboard riff. I just loved the way the two sounded together. The whole piece evolved from that simple, repetitive groove," said Minucci, the deft guitarist who wrote and produced "All Stars," tapping nearly two-dozen musicians to bring to life the album of contemporary jazz, fusion and world music utilizing sounds, rhythms and textures from Africa, Brazil, the Aboriginal outback and the Asian Pacific Rim.

Who exactly is this mysterious "Mr. Marzipan?"

"Mr. Marzipan is not a person, but instead a jazzy, tongue-in-cheek reference to my love affair with chocolate. It is also a reference to a famous cake that I used to devour with my mother every time I'd come visit my folks while they lived in Los Angeles. She had discovered a fantastic bakery that had the most talented owner/baker. Each trip to Los Angeles would begin with a visit to my folks and that amazing cake."

Shortly before the lockdown, Special EFX was in Washington, DC to record a short concert at SiriusXM's studio for national radio broadcast. The airdate will soon be announced.

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