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George Jinda

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A native of Budapest, Hungary, percussionist George Jinda began playing the piano when he was six but switched to drums by age ten. Tony Williams along with African and South American rhythms were early inspirations, but it was Jack DeJohnette who Jinda declared his idol. Jinda and his family moved in 1966 to New York City, the place where he would meet guitarist Chieli Minucci in 1982. The two formed one of the most successful smooth jazz bands ever, Special EFX. In 1992 Jinda shared the stage with Miles Davis in Japan and started work on his World News project. Special EFX released 13 albums before artistic differences separated the two in the mid-'90s. The split was friendly and Minucci agreed to let Jinda keep recording under the Special EFX name. The first Minucci-less album, Here to Stay, was released in 1996, and Jinda took the band on the road. Jinda had been dealing with asthma and diabetes for quite some time and in 1997 the two conditions worsened, causing him to suffer a debilitating stroke. The long-term effect was myoclonic disorder, a neurological disorder that left Jinda with no control over his body's physical functions. The bedridden Jinda was cared for by his wife, Nivea, and the two gave their blessings to handing Special EFX back to Minucci. After a long battle, Jinda passed away in early 2001. ~ David Jeffries

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June 4, 1941

Years Active:

'80s, '90s, '10s