‘Festival brochure’ bio information
CHIELI MINUCCI is the leader of the Grammy-nominated contemporary jazz group Special EFX, which formed in 1982. Minucci & Special EFX have recorded a combined 27 CDs, 8 of those being solo releases. In addition Minucci has recorded and performed with top pop artists such as Celine Dion, Lionel Richie, Jennifer Lopez, Jewel, Mark Anthony, Jessica Simpson, Anastasia and others, as well as jazz/pop artists Bobby Caldwell, Marion Meadows, Jay Beckenstein, Kim Waters, Alex Bugnon, Gerald Veasley, Lao Tizer, Nestor Torez, Bob Baldwin, and many others. His father, Ulpio Minucci (concert pianist/composer) wrote the now ‘standard’ 1955 hit song “Domani,” as well as “A Thousand Thoughts of You,” and “Felicia” (both sung by Nat King Cole).
photo by Walter Goyen
Also known as a composer for television and film, Minucci was nominated for 10 Daytime Emmy Awards and has won three, in 1998, 2007, and most recently in 2008, for his eclectic compositional work on CBS’s The Guiding Light. He has written music for well-known programs such as Good Morning America (theme), Bloomberg Radio (theme), Access Hollywood, The 700 Club, and others. He also contributed music to the soundtracks of Bowfinger (1999), Legally Blonde (2001). and Panic (2000), as well as most recently to ‘Lifted’ (2007).
Minucci composed and produced the soundtrack for the Broadway Across America/Nickelodeon live stage productions of the hit TV series, Dora the Explorer (‘Dora’s Pirate Adventure’, ‘The City of Lost Toys’ and currently ‘Return to the City of Lost Toys’) which are currently touring internationally. He also wrote and recorded original songs for the live stage production of Thomas & Friends Live™, (both ‘Thomas Saves The Day!’ and most currently, ‘A Circus Comes to Town’)
full bio information
Chieli Minucci was born and raised in NYC. Son of Catherine & Ulpio Minucci (concert pianist/composer, who wrote the 50s hit, Domani (Julius LaRosa), A Thousand Thoughts of You, and Felicia (both Nat King Cole). Chieli grew up in Queens, NY, where he still resides today. He began music early on, studying classical piano from the age of 5, and eventually switched over to guitar at 8. He was continually surrounded by the sound of music, through his father’s piano playing, and composing, which was to play a key role in his musical future as a writer himself.
At age 13 he joined neighborhood friends to form the band, Taurus, which stayed together for about 3 years. Chieli did a great deal of performing and traveling with this band, performing regularly on the Italian Line Cruise ships during Christmas and Easter school holidays, as well as countless school dances and parties, as well as local bars. It was during these teen years that he developed his love for performing, writing, singing, and traveling, all through music.
He attended Ithaca College in upstate NY, where he initially majored in music, studying classical guitar, but eventually settled in as an English major. He continued studying music theory, history, solfeggio, composition, and big band arranging, as well as joining various local groups: Amethyst, a folk/pop trio; The New Band, his first foray into fusion-jazz/rock; Fast Food, a new wave vocal/rock group; Colombo, a Brazilian trio; and finally, a long stint in Gumbo, an original instrumental/fusion rock quartet. The college life gave Chieli an opportunity to be a part of many diverse musical situations, which was key in his future as a composer/guitarist.
Following college he returned to NYC, studying composition privately with Nicolas Flagello. From ages 23 through 25 Minucci worked with many acts: The Commotion, Fran Eckhart, China Davis Band, Sapho, as well as continuing to write his own music, in particular, pop vocal music, for which he teamed up with lyricists Bobby Matthews and Norman Simon. He performed in various groups, including a two-year stint with Eartha Kitt, and eventually The B.B. & Q. Band (Capital), as well as a brief run with the Lou Reed Band, which featured the rhythm section of Fernando Saunders on bass, as well as J.T. Lewis on drums. (soon to become the first rhythm section lineup of Special EFX). Chieli performed at the original Farm Aid concert with Lou Reed as well. It was during this period that he met Hungarian drummer/percussionist, George Jinda.
Soon after meeting George, the two musicians formed Special Delivery, which landed a recording contract in 1982 with Keytone Records, in Holland. Their first LP, simply entitled, Special EFX was eventually picked up for USA distribution by GRP Records (Larry Rosen/Dave Grusin) in NYC. By 1984 Special EFX (newly renamed) had its first US release out in the stores, and the band began its present adventures in touring and performing. Since then Special EFX has recorded 17 CDs, and Chieli has recorded 6 solo CDs on his own. ‘Chieli Minucci with Special EFX’ is still touring regularly.
Chieli has been busy in a wide variety of musical projects, which include recording and performing with top pop artists Celine Dion, Lionel Richie, Jennifer Lopez, Jewel, Mark Anthony, Jessica Simpson, Anastasia and others….as well as jazz/pop artists Bobby Caldwell, Marion Meadows, Jay Beckenstein, Kim Waters, Alex Bugnon, Gerald Veasley, Lao Tizer, Nestor Torez, Bob Baldwin, and many others.
Chieli also has a multimedia website, ChieliMusic.com, which features video, multiple soundclips, individual song downloads from all 26 CDs, as well as all biographical material, full electronic press-kit, etc…
“Without You” Chieli Minucci & Special EFX
Guitarist, composer, and arranger Chieli Minucci is the leader of the Grammy-nominated jazz-fusion group Special EFX, which he co-founded with the late George Jinda in 1984. A major force on the jazz and world music scene for 25 years, Special EFX’s newest release, “Without You” is a diverse collection of jazz-fusion, Latin rhythms, and the effortlessly flowing guitar artistry that Chieli (key-eh-lee) is known for. A true sound-tapestry, blending layers of sound and harmonic texture, “Without You” is an instant classic.
This brilliant double CD collection of tracks features the original Special EFX lineup of favorites – drummer Lionel Cordew, bassist Jerry Brooks, keyboardist Jay Rowe, and vocalist/percussionist Philip Hamilton – plus many brilliant guest artists, including keyboardist Jeff Lorber, violinist Karen Briggs, keyboardist Lao Tizer, vocalist Will Brock, bassist Dave Anderson, and violinist Alan Grubner.
Special EFX is one of the most prominent world fusion groups of the era. During the course of the band’s phenomenal rise to the top of the jazz charts, they released 25 CDs, including Chieli’s 8 solo releases and a live concert DVD. Seminal songs like “Daybreak”, “Cruise Control”, “Bella” and “Seduction” were among their chart-topping hits. This extraordinary super group takes their vibrant and exciting sound to the next level on its new “Without You” release, which encompasses diverse and eclectic sounds ranging from jazz fusion to world beat, pop vocals and rock-tinged arrangements.
Chieli’s latest project, the Special EFX CD “Without You” highlights an extraordinary career and is essential listening for his legions of fans. Songs like “Love’s Lost in Translation” blends Philip Hamilton’s mellifluous voice with romance and angst in an exotic, world music setting. Long-time fans may recognize parts of “The Night Is Ours”, which is a completely re-written version of Special EFX’s 1982 signature song “Sambuca Nights”. Fans will also be entranced with “Hushabye”, which was originally released as the instrumental “Sweet Surrender” but has been transformed with the addition of the soulful vocals of Will Brock. And for George Jinda fans, the tune “Man with a Drum” captures his original percussion sounds.
Talented virtuosos Jeff Lorber, Karen Briggs and Lao Tizer are featured on tracks that may become the “new” classics for Special EFX.
“Legendary keyboardist Jeff Lorber is a brilliant musical collaborator on ‘Mountina Jameroon’. I’m excited to have his high intensity electric jazz flavorings on the new Special EFX CD,” says Chieli.
“I brought Karen Briggs into the project after hearing her amazing violin work on Yanni’s Live at the Acropolis,” explains Chieli. “She takes the violin to another dimension on our songs ‘Lakeside’ and ‘Wonderboy.’”
Special guest Lao Tizer brings his powerful piano vibe to the tracks “Bacchanalia” and “Afterglow”.
“I discovered Lao when he was 19 years old and we’ve been collaborating ever since. I knew his high-energy, unique piano work would bring another level of emotion to these Special EFX songs,” says Chieli.
Showcasing truly incredible musicianship, Special EFX’s captivating jazz fusion textures and progressive new age twists take listeners on an uplifting musical ride they’ll never forget. “Without You” showcases the band’s special gift for combining harmony, feeling, and flawless technique with remarkable passion.
Chieli & co’s musical versatility and extraordinary abilities have made them a favorite among jazz fans worldwide. Aside from writing and performing his own music, Chieli shares his guitar brilliance throughout the entertainment world. He has recorded and performed with top artists Celine Dion, Lionel Richie, Jennifer Lopez, Jewel, Mark Anthony, Jessica Simpson, Anastasia, Marion Meadows, Alex Bugnon, Nestor Torres, and many others.
Renowned in the jazz and pop world, Chieil is also a gifted television and film composer. He has won 3 Emmy Awards and been nominated 10 times for his eclectic compositional work for CBS’ The Guiding Light. He has also written theme music for Good Morning America, Bloomberg Radio, and Access Hollywood. His music can also be heard on the soundtracks of the films Bowfinger, Legally Blonde, Panic, and others.
On the Broadway scene, Chieli composed and produced the soundtrack for the Broadway Across America/Nickelodeon live stage productions of the hit TV series, Dora the Explorer, which have toured internationally. He also wrote and recorded original songs for the live stage production of Thomas & Friends Live™. Chieli’s popular song “Kickin’ it Hard” is featured as the prime hold music on Verizon’s conference audio bridge system.
Contact: Nelly Neben/Axis Management(818)998-2595 Nelly@axismanagement.com Bio – Genesis