I have always had difficulty in identifying ' what's new ' about the music of Nelson Rangell. It had a smooth contemporary feel in keeping with Kirk Whalum, Kenny G and David Sanborn. ' Turning Night into Day ' has turned me onto Nelson Rangell as a very talented musician and reminds me a lot of one of my recent ' All About Jazz ' album reviews from February featuring another underrated, yet wonderful saxophonist, Jeff Hackworth.
This abum is full of funky cuts featuring a number of producers including Chuck Loeb who plays guitars on most of the tracks. Other producers include the talented Michael Bearden ( remember his 1995 movie arrangement for the ' Drop Squad ' ) Kip Kuepper, Mike Hupfer and of course overseen by GRP's newish CEO, Tommy Lipuma.
The album opens with Sanborn type ' Starting now ' featuring a predominent bass and drum line and harmonized sax interludes and a wonderful Fender Rhodes played by th top session man Phillipe Saisse. The title cut ' Turning Night into Day 'and track 3 ' The Journey ' highlights Nelson's versitility as a musician who is as comfortable with his alto sax riffs as his smooth glides on a piccolo. The latter provides us with an interplay with the harmonica of Howard Levy, who has definitely been influenced by the excellent Toots Thielemans
' All for you ', ' Gozilla ' and ' La Respuesta ' are all mid tempo grooves featuring Nelson playing alto and soprano sax and flute which have a latin feel, whilst the album's melodic cuts are ' For the rest of my life ' featuring pianist Mike Hupfer and ' Romantique ' featuring Michael Bearden on harmonica, piano, organ and keys which are midnight affairs with the lights down real low.
Other album highlights are ' From spark to flame ' featuring Chuck Loeb on acoustic guitar and Kip Kuepper on keys, ' April snow ' which as the title suggests, is a melodic trip through the awakening spring featuring Nelson on flute.
The five producers add a different slant to the talented Mr Rangell and bring out his wonderful range and versitility on saxophones, flutes or piccolo. This is an album for smooth jazz ' prime time ' and reminds me of the early Sanborn albums which I loved so much and I am sure that contemporary fans will enjoy this album as much as I did..