While other contemporary jazz reed players grab more headlines and steal more thunder and attention, Nelson Rangell has slowly but surely created his own niche as one the genre's most consistent purveyors of spicy horn energy, virtuosic flute pepper, and technical wizardry, all laced with an ear for hip musical trends. Continuing on a path towards yet another fruitful and ambitious Destiny, he pays even more attention to the urban side of life, kicking up the funk (with the help of co-producer Michael Bearden) on "The Road Ahead," then digging up even grittier mud on "Streetwise." While still owing a little to the Sanborn influence, Rangell reaches into some more inventive textures by recording all three saxes at once and becoming his own horn section. Never quite given his due as a flutist, Rangell achieves a sparkling epiphany with the piccolo which could some day put him in Hubert Laws' league. He also adds an elegant, art for art's sake touch with the glorious "Sonora," and a lengthy but never tedious orchestral cover of the Luther Vandross arrangement of "A House Is Not a Home." Once again, Rangell hits a home run to the bleachers where easy-to-swallow blends with highly trained brilliance.
by Jonathan Widran