Contemporary jazz saxophonist Nelson Rangell's 12th album, Look Again, finds the horn virtuoso concentrating on tenor, as opposed to the dominance of alto saxophone in his recent work. The album simmers with urban flavor and remains upbeat throughout. After the smooth lines and memorable chorus of the title track, Rangell employs his trademark double-tracked horn style on the funky "Dedication," which also features a Will Lee bassline hotter than a Las Vegas night. Soulful urban contemporary vocalist Will Downing contributes vocals to the romantic "Good Morning Love," while Rangell switches to alto sax for the contemplative down-tempo number "With All My Heart." The latter song also includes a tentative foray into Everything but the Girl-style electro-pop that, while not entirely successful, proves that Rangell is still willing to take chances in an often-maligned genre. Unfortunately, that bravery goes both ways. The ill-advised urban soul of "Whisper" attempts to marry Rangell's soprano noodling with Terry Black and Ben Macklin Jr.'s very Usher-like vocals. The song ends up sounding like the mismatched templates of two songs laid over one another. Fortunately, Look Again is filled with grooves galore, and is loaded with effusive, inventive solos from Rangell. There are still elements of David Sanborn in his sound, and when the beats waver, Look Again drifts into boring territory. But the album's urban textures at least muddy Rangell up enough so his material isn't completely drenched in smooth jazz lacquer.
Look Again Review
by Johnny Loftus