Nelson Rangell

Nelson Rangell

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Nelson Rangell Review

by Jonathan Widran

While most instrumental artists are content to find a niche by developing their chops on a single instrument and creating one distinctive sound, Nelson Rangell always felt that doing so would shortchange the listening public of his musical diversity. His second GRP release features various styles and such wind instruments as alto and soprano sax, piccolo, and flute. While a first listen to this dynamic disc might confuse listeners previously unfamiliar with his happy schizophrenia, the one undeniable consistency is the passion and excitement he infuses throughout, on party jams like "Givin' the High Sign" and also on more heartfelt fare along the lines of Ellington's "Prelude to a Kiss." While a funky Sanborn influence is quite apparent on Rangell's alto work and the Hubert Laws approach suits him on the flute (allowing for a familiar if not wholly distinctive comfort zone), the real stunning selection is a cover of Pat Metheny's "If I Could," on which Rangell carries the melody by whistling. Though his modulations are brilliant, he never attempted such a feat again. His work throughout the next decade+ continued to show development in all these various areas.

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