Chieli Minucci: It’s Gonna Be Good

It’s Gonna Be Good (JVC/JMI JMI-7007-2; 70:55) lives up to the promise of its title, marking the emergence of former Special EFX guitarist Chieli Minucci as an expert song craftsman as well as a first-class player. Minucci’s compositions here step outside the realm of wimpy smooth jazz, making strong statements with crackling rhythms framing his solos. Economical arrangements and exciting percussion components are the unifying threads between such varied tunes as the disarming Brazilian wrought “Endless Summer” and the album’s title track, with its warm, vintage Doobie Brothers pop anthem feel. These diverse settings showcase Minucci’s skillful solo work-from the fleet, blues/rock interplay of electric and acoustic guitars on the bubbling “Baci,” to the cool, flowing Metheny-recalling slumberland of “Dreams” and the majestic “Kama Sutra.”