Guitarist Chieli Minucci has been running the gamut of pop, rock, R&B and smooth jazz music for over 20 years. As a founding member of Special EFX and as a soloist, Chieli has had major successes as a composer and instrumentalist in other genres as well. In fact, his substanative approach to what he does has added some clarity of purpose to the overall jazz scene as it stands today. Although Minucci is considered by many to be a smooth jazz practitioner, his style is reminiscent of a more contemporary approach. His latest CD entitled 'Got It Goin' On' for the Shanachie Record Label continues a long-standing sense of purpose, whereby melodic grooves and harmonic rhythms reign supreme in a pristine atmosphere of focused sound.
This latest release is Chieli Minucci's sixth solo effort and his 23rd recording as a professional. 'Got It Goin' On' is a remarkable display of musical character. The CD carries with it the hauntings of a subtle instrumental ballad, some highly energetic funk and circumstance, coupled with a colorful display of musical craftsmanship from a number of special guests. Tracks such as "Good Times Ahead" and "The Juice" provide vides that have an easy groove to negotiate, while also employing a nice systematic beat.
On a more somber note, Minucci displays a more reflective tone with a cut entitled "Love Is Always Young," which by most standards is a beautifully-crafted instrumental ballad co-written by his father Ulpio Minucci and lyricist Mark Roberts. Chieli describes the song as "one of his dad's most beautiful melodies, one that is a true bridges between the old and the new." In retrospect, Chieli's father is an inspiration to him and has guided his forethought and creativity through many of his compositions. That aspect of his work along with other innovative skills has allowed Minucci to be one of the few musicians of his generation having a significant impact on jazz.
'Got It Goin' On' is not just another generic smooth jazz release. This CD incorporates an ever expanding saga of Chieli's view on music, which also has a much broader vision than most. He has accomplished this task with skill and a high degree of intuitive savvy. To assist him down his chosen path, Minucci included the talents of such notables as Jeff Kashiwa, Marion Meadows, Kim Waters, David Mann, Gerald Veasley and Steve Oliver to make this journey into sound a reality. With an uncanny grasp of elemental inclusion, Chieli's music pushes the aesthetic spectrum with a wide array of skills. He incorporates an unlimited number of musical styles to create one of jazz's most relevant recordings to date. His impact on jazz is significant due to his desire to always evolve to ever-increasing levels of excellence. Much of what he has done has been accomplished in an environment that is often mundane and limited in imagination. What is most relevant about Minucci is the zeal he has demonstrated in becoming one of music's most prolific artists. Having survived twenty-plus years in a somewhat sterile jazz environment surely paves the way for a much broader expanse of his multi-faceted creativity.