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My American Songbook, Vol. 1

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Album Review

Saxophonist Nelson Rangell delivers an instrumental pop tribute to America with My American Songbook, Vol. 1. Mixing original compositions, standards, and traditional songs, Rangell has crafted a heartfelt and sunny album. Tracks such as Leonard Bernstein's "America" and "In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning" utilize synthesized strings for an orchestral touch. Similarly, tracks such as "Freda" and "Cast Your Fate to the Wind" mix synthesized sounds with various organic percussion instruments to create a pleasing pastiche that is both organic and studio-slick. Rangell, who plays many instruments here (including flute), is an adept melodicist and his takes on such standards as "Cherokee' and "Billy Boy," while not straight-ahead jazz, do swing in a contemporary fashion.


Born: 26 March 1960 in Castle Rock, CO

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

Nelson Rangell has primarily played pop-jazz throughout his career, although he did a credible job playing some soulful alto with the straight-ahead GRP All-Star Big Band. The records he cut for GRP in the early '90s made him into a popular contemporary jazz attraction in the David Sanborn tradition. A native of Denver, CO, Rangell learned how to play flute at the age of 15, and within six months, he was studying music at the Interlochen Arts Academy. Shortly afterward, he learned the saxophone,...
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My American Songbook,  Vol. 1, Nelson Rangell
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