|Birth name||Dexter Gilman Wansel|
August 22, 1950 |
Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, U.S.
|Origin||Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.|
|Genres||Soul, Funk, R&B, Disco|
|Occupations||Musician, Producer, Arranger, Songwriter|
|Labels||Philadelphia International Records|
|Associated acts||Gamble and Huff|
Dexter Gilman Wansel (born August 22, 1950) is an American keyboardist, raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He contributed to the development of the Philly Sound and worked with producers Gamble and Huff at Philadelphia International Records. Wansel led the musical group, Yellow Sunshine. He has worked with Phyllis Hyman, The Jacksons, MFSB, Teddy Pendergrass, Patti Labelle, The Jones Girls, Evelyn "Champagne" King, Grover Washington Jr. and Lou Rawls, amongs many others. He also wrote The Jones Girls 1981 soul music song "Nights over Egypt" and Patti Labelle's 1983 #1 R&B hit, "If Only You Knew", with Cynthia Biggs. His "Theme from the Planets" has been sampled and was featured on the breakbeat compilation album, Ultimate Breaks and Beats.
Whilst Wansel was relatively unknown outside the U.S., many have suggested[who?] that his influence on pop music, as both a producer and performer in the mid-1970s, led to the development of new age soul and jazz funk. His most successful album was Life On Mars, released on the Philadelphia International record label in 1976. Wansel played keyboards, Derek Graves played bass guitar whilst a session singer, Terri Wells, was on vocals. The remaining sound was filled in by Dexter's rhythm section called The Planets featuring Darryl Brown, Calvin Harris, Bobby Malach, Al Harrison and the aforementioned Graves.
During the second half of the 1970s, space travel and sci-fi were important themes in the ambient U.S. culture and therefore in funk, jazz, and jazz funk, and were reflected in Dexter's titles and music. Listening to other tracks on the album, like "Stargazer", "Theme from the Planets" and "Rings of Saturn", it can be seen that a space theme runs through his music. His "Funk Attack" on the 1979 album Time is Slipping Away and "I'll Never Forget (My Favorite Disco)" have stood the test of time. Instrumental arrangements appeared on his album Voyager (1978). In addition to this he presented a disco theme with "Disco Lights" from the album What The World is Coming To (1977); and jazz funk such as "Latin Love" on Voyager; or "Ode Infinitum" on What The World Is Coming To.
Wansel has produced and recorded many soul ballads including the Time is Slipping Away title track, "New Beginning" on that same album, "The Sweetest Pain" (which was sampled by The Solid Doctor for his trip hop track "Lights On The Vibe", by DJ Cam for his track "Dieu Reconnaîtra Les Siens", and by Global Communication for their track "The Way") and "You Can Be What You Wanna Be" from 1976. He also co-wrote and produced the Pieces of a Dream track, "Warm Weather". The track "Rings of saturn" was sampled by Dela for his track "Long Life" featuring Talib Kweli. Purists consider his "I'm In Love Once Again", released on Philadelphia International Records by Jean Carn in 1976, to be his finest work, combining sublime chord sequences with a lavish production.
Wansel is the father of Grammy-nominated music producer and songwriter Pop Wansel, and a U.S Army Veteran of the Vietnam War Era (Taiwan). Most recently he has authored a fiction novel entitled, "Shortwave" which has been published and released.
|Year||Album||Chart positions||Record label|
|1976||Life On Mars||—||44||—||Philadelphia International Records|
|1977||What the World Is Coming To||168||45||24|
|1979||Time Is Slipping Away||—||58||—|
|2004||Digital Groove World||—||—||—||Hotplanet Entertainment|
|"—" denotes the album failed to chart|
|Year||Single||Chart positions||Record label|
|1976||"Life On Mars"||—||91||—||Philadelphia International Records|
Selected production discography
- The Jackson - The Jacksons 1976
- Lou Rawls - All Things in Time 1976
- The Jacksons - Goin' Places 1977
- Lou Rawls - Unmistakably Lou 1977
- Lou Rawls - Let Me Be Good to You 1979
- Teddy Pendergrass - TP 1980
- Lou Rawls - Sit Down and Talk to Me 1980
- Patti LaBelle - The Spirit's in It 1981
- Patti LaBelle - I'm in Love Again 1983
- Patti LaBelle - Patti 1983
- Dexter Wansel biography at All Music.com
- Dexter Wansel discography at Discogs.com
- Dexter Wansel on Philly Soul Classics
- http://www.createspace.com/Dexter Wansel Novel Entitled "Shortwave" at CreateSpace.com