Nelson Rangell – Sharp, Intelligent Smooth Jazz

Rarely does a player stand out as naturally gifted with musical abilities like Nelson Rangell. He effortlessly finds his groove and melody no matter in what musical environment he finds himself. That very well may be why Jazziz magazine writes that Nelson Rangell is “an artist of depth, a master of song, and an improviser non pareil.” The Times of London notes “his extraordinary facility on a range of instruments and his undoubted virtuosity,” adding that Nelson is “one of fusion’s most accomplished exponents.” Saxophone Journal writes “He commands the alto saxophone with such authority there can be no denying that Rangell is a true artist,” and Flute Talk Magazine states “Nelson Rangell creates the impression that anything is possible when he improvises.”

You should know that while most people know him as a saxophone player, he also plays the piccolo and flute. I’ve also seen his whistle the Sound of Music to a standing ovation.

Here is Nelson Rangall performing his hit “When Day Turns to Night.”

Nelson first played flute at the age of 15. Within six months he was studying both classical and jazz at The Interlochen Arts Academy, a national camp for gifted music students. He went on to attend The New England Conservatory of Music in Boston. As a student he twice won Down Beat Magazine’s prestigious National Student Recording Awards competition both as best jazz and best pop/rock instrumental soloist. After college he headed to New York in 1984 to pursue his career. The next four years were spent sitting in, playing alongside, and gigging with some of the world’s greatest contemporary jazz musicians including Eric Marienthal, Hiram Bullock, Eric Gale, Richard Tee, Jaco Pastorius, David Sanborn and many others. Nelson’s 1987 debut album was released on Gaia/Gramavision Records, but soon thereafter he was signed by Larry Rosen and Dave Grusin at GRP Records.

A great example of his ability not to be overshadowed even when playing with the finest players in the world, in this case Dave & Don Grusin, is evident in this next clip. Enjoy Nelson’s solo in this.

Little surprise than that Nelson has recorded with The Rippingtons, Chuck Loeb, Patti Austin, Tom Browne, and The GRP All-Star Big Band to name a few and is featured on Don Grusin’s Grammy nominated CD “The Hang.” Though Nelson has recorded mostly in the contemporary/pop and smooth jazz formats garnering top radio play and a large audience, The Times notes that live “a much more robust and idiosyncratic player emerges.” Nelson comes to the east coast October 9th and will be performing at the New Brunswick Jazz Festival. Click Here for More Info

Here he is performing “Good Morning Love.”

About Daniel Odescalchi

I've been a smooth jazz fan since I was first turned onto David Sanborn, Marcus Miller & Bob James in the 80's. And who could forget Dave Grusin. Unfortunately after a while too many people started doing pop covers and it polluted the smooth jazz pool. That's starting to change and this blog is dedicated to educating people on the enjoyment of smooth jazz and the artists that perform it.
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