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Body Language

Special EFX

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Album Review

For a minute in the early '90s, the smooth jazz genre seemed to be losing the essence of Special EFX, one of its seminal and most consistent outfits from the early '80s on. Both guitarist Chieli Minucci and percussionist George Jinda released solo projects and the one EFX album in between took a totally programmed urban slant on an interesting but tenuous Catwalk. That disc was exciting but was too sample heavy and sacrificed their classic interplay for a spotlight on saxman Mark Johnson (Jinda's idea). Body Language thankfully gets the duo back on track, finding a happy medium between the street vibe and the smooth, melodic worldbeat nuances they're best known for. The generally easygoing atmospheres once again dominate, but the two compromise on a few of the wilder pieces, which blend the rock fusion edge from Minucci's stellar Jewels effort and the funkier soulful tinges from the last EFX disc. And no disrespect to Johnson, but this time he is rightfully relegated to an effective supporting role. The result is one of their most eclectic mixes to date, with some of Minucci's most sensitive acoustic and smoky electric work. It's basically a thank you note to longtime fans who opened their minds to the recent expansiveness.

Biography

Formed: 1982

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

Combining Latin and African rhythms with the light textures of MOR jazz, Special EFX emerged as one of the most prominent world fusion groups of their era. Formed in New York in 1982, Special EFX was essentially a duo comprised of guitarist Chieli Minucci and Hungarian-born drummer/percussionist George Jinda; debuting in 1985 with the album Modern Manners, they often recruited other musicians to help flesh out their state-of-the-art sound, among them Dave Grusin, Omar Hakim, and McCoy Tyner. Long...
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Body Language, Special EFX
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