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Nelson Rangell: Soul to Souls

The problem with calling a CD My American Songbook, Vol. 1, as saxophonist and flutist Nelson Rangell did on his last outing, is that your fans expect a second installment pretty soon. That may indeed come down the road, but for now Rangell’s new project can be classified as Vol. 1.5 in the series as there’s more of a pop influence. He offers a breezy collection of original songs by Rangell and musical partners Alex Nekrasov and Kip Kuepper and several covers.

Speaking of breezy, the album kicks off with “Free as the Wind,” a Joe Sample Crusaders’ tune driven by a dance-hall bass line, Rangell’s tenor and a chunky Chuck Loeb guitar solo. It’s one of Rangell’s best recordings ever. Another cover, guitarist Earl Klugh’s “Vonetta,” showcases Rangell’s flute and Klugh himself, who sounds as sweet as ever racing across the nylons. Rangell also picks up the flute and piccolo for Stevie Wonder’s “Send One Your Love.” And James Taylor’s “Instrumental Theme Part 2 [From One Man Dog]” reminds us of what a sweet song that was way back in 1972. There have been too many covers of Dizzy Gillespie’s “Night in Tunisia,” but Rangell does fine in adding his smooth and swinging take.

Originally Published