Personnel: Nelson Rangell (soprano, alto & tenor saxophones, flute, piccolo); Rob Mathis, Peter Valentine, Syreeta Wright (vocals); Chuck Loeb (guitar, keyboards, synthesizer programming); Ross Trout, Ron Komie (guitar); Russ Freeman (classical guitar); David Mann (piano, keyboards, synthesizer bass, drum programming); Michael Bearden (piano, keyboards, synthesizer); Eric Gunnison (piano); Mark Portmann (keyboards, programming); Kip Kuepper (keyboards); Mel Brown (bass); Tony Morales, Stephen Ivey, Zach Danziger, Wolfgang Haffner (drums); Bashiri Johnson (percussion, timbales, congas); Daniel Sadownick, David Charles, Paphael Padilla (percussion); Mitchel Forman (keyboard programming); Max Risenhower (drum programming).
Producers include: Chuck Loeb, Russ Freeman, Michael Bearden, Mark Portmann,
Personnel: Nelson Rangell (flute, piccolo, soprano saxophone, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone); Peter Valentine, Syreeta Wright (vocals, background vocals); Chuck Loeb (guitar, acoustic guitar, keyboards); Jef Lee Johnson, Ron Komie (guitar); Ross Trout (electric guitar); Russ Freeman (classical guitar); Barry Danielian (trumpet); Michael Davis (trombone); David Mann (piano, keyboards, synthesizer, drum programming); Michael Bearden (piano, keyboards, synthesizer); Eric Gunnison, Jon Werking (piano); Mark Portmann (keyboards, programming); Tony Morales, Wolfgang Haffner, Lionel Cordew, Zach Danziger (drums); Bashiri Johnson (congas, timbales, percussion); Daniel Sadownick, David Charles, Rafael Padilla (percussion); Mitchel Forman (keyboard programming); Max Risenhoover (drum programming, percussion programming); Sharon Bryant, Brant Biles (background vocals).
Photographer: Alan Nahigian.
Unknown Contributor Role: Syreeta Wright .
Arranger: Michael Bearden.
On first listen, the songs on The Very Best of Nelson Rangell don't sound any different than the kind of smooth, lite-jazz/easy listening pop that one would find on a Spyro Gyra record, and certainly this album fits comfortably in that oft-maligned genre. What makes Rangell different from, say, David Sanborn or Kenny G is not his arrangements, which tend to be pedestrian and colorless (you've heard these MIDI synthesizers and George Benson-influenced guitars dozens of times before), but his taste for songs that have some real melodic weight to them, like Bacharach/David's classic "A House Is Not a Home" or his own "Little Dream Girl." Add in the fact that Rangell is actually a gifted soloist capable of twisting away from simple, melodic lines without losing the cozy accessibility that's the calling card of this style of jazz, and that the songs' relatively extended playing times -- most are in the five-to-eight-minute range -- give him room to stretch out, and The Very Best of Nelson Rangell becomes something of an exemplar of the style. It won't win over confirmed smooth jazz haters, but this is about as good as this type of music gets. ~ Stewart Mason