Co-founded in 1982 by master guitarist Chieli Minucci (pronounced Key-eli Mee-noo-chee) and the late percussionist George Jinda, Special EFX helped pave the road for contemporary jazz in the 80s and continues to set the standard. With over 30 years as torchbearers of innovative music, the latest release from this pioneering group, Deep As The Night, is the latest chapter in the enduring story of Special EFX. Chieli reflects on the band’s longevity: “One of the reasons we have been able to maintain our popularity is because we have evolved over the years. When the band first started we had a heavy world music influence. Later we highlighted more of an acid-jazz sound, as well as some progressive fusion-rock thrown in for good measure. When people hear our music, they can expect to hear a little of everything!” Eric Marienthal is a graduate of the Berklee College of Music where he studied with the legendary saxophone professor, Joe Viola. He has since gone on to perform in over 75 different countries, recorded 14 solo CDs and has played on hundreds of records, films, television shows and commercial jingles. Violinist Regina Carter, a recipient of the MacArthur Fellowship Genius grant, combines dazzling technical proficiency and profound compositional and improvisational gifts with a fresh, aggressive approach to her instrument and a multicultural perspective, challenging preconceptions regarding the instrument.
Also included in tonight’s event is a performance by Mike LeDonne’s Groover Quartet. Le Donne is one of those journeymen that has been around honing and plying his craft for years and it shows in his complete mastery of the complex piece of electro-mechanical equipment known as the Hammond B3. His band mates include tenor saxophonist Eric Alexander, guitarist Peter Bernstein and drummer Joe Farnsworth, each a talented player in his own right. Together under Le Donne’s leadership these guys have developed a finely calibrated musical machine that just hums along making the art of cooking look deceptively easy.