Styles: World Fusion, Crossover Jazz, Smooth Jazz
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 favoring an accessible and slick jazz-pop sound, the duo significantly altered their identity with 1990's Just Like Magic, adopting a more acoustic texture and exchanging Jinda's electronic percussion for what he dubbed "wooden world music." After 1995's Body Language, Minucci and Jinda split, with the latter continuing to work under the Special EFX name; in early 1997, however, tragedy struck when Jinda - having recently completed the album Here to Stay - suffered a massive stroke, subsequently lapsing into a coma. After several years of very poor health, Jinda passed away in New York on January 11, 2001.
-Jason Ankeny (All Music Guide)