Nelson Rangell

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Nelson Rangell
Nelson Rangell.jpg
Background information
Born (1960-03-26) March 26, 1960 (age 62)
Castle Rock, Colorado, U.S.
GenresSmooth jazz
Instrument(s)Saxophone, flute
Years active1988–present
LabelsGRP, Shanachie

Nelson Rangell (born March 26, 1960) is an American smooth jazz[1] musician and composer from Castle Rock, Colorado.[2] Although he is known for his work with the tenor, alto, and soprano saxophone, his primary instrument is the piccolo, which he began playing at the age of 15.[3] He has at times worked with Jimmy Haslip and Russ Ferrante.


Although Rangell's parents weren't musicians,[4] his siblings have careers in music. His brother Andrew is a concert pianist and his brother Bobby is a woodwind player in Europe. His sister Paula is a singer.

Rangell first played flute at the age of 15. Within six months he was studying both jazz and classical music at the Interlochen Arts Academy, a camp for gifted music students. He attended the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston. As a student he won Best Jazz and Best Pop/Rock Instrumental Soloist in the Down Beat magazine National Student Recording Awards.

After college he moved to New York City in 1984. During the next four years he worked as a sideman with Eric Marienthal, Hiram Bullock, Eric Gale, Richard Tee, Jaco Pastorius, David Sanborn, and the Gil Evans Monday Night Orchestra. He also worked on jingles for commercials. His debut album was released in 1987 by Gaia/Gramavision Records. Soon after, he was signed to GRP by Dave Grusin and Larry Rosen.

In the 1980s he was a member of Members Only, a jazz ensemble which recorded for Muse.[5]

Beginning in 1989, he recorded eight albums for GRP. He has recorded with The Rippingtons, Chuck Loeb, Patti Austin, Tom Browne, the GRP All-Star Big Band and is featured on The Hang, an album by Don Grusin that was nominated for a Grammy Award. In the late 1990s he signed with Shanachie Records.


  • To Begin Again (1988)
  • Playing for Keeps (1989)
  • Nelson Rangell (1990)
  • In Every Moment (1992)
  • Truest Heart (1993)
  • Yes, Then Yes (1994)
  • Destiny (1995)
  • Turning Night into Day (1997)
  • Always (1999)
  • Far Away Day (2000)
  • Look Again (2003)
  • All I Hope for Christmas (2004)
  • My American Songbook Vol.1 (2005)
  • Soul to Souls (2006)
  • Red (2015)
  • Blue (2015)
  • By Light (2019)


  1. ^ Miller, Ken. (2007). Nelson Rangell – Interview Cafe (Video-recording), Time: 1:27
  2. ^ Miller, Ken. (2007). Nelson Rangell – Interview Cafe (Video-recording), Time: 4:13
  3. ^ Bentley, Mary. (2005). [Quoting Nelson Rangell] – "I didn't pick up an instrument until I was about 15...I started to play an instrument, I knew immediately that that's what I wanted to do, 'cause I did very little else after that. I just wanted to immerse myself in it all the time. It was my passion. To be able to find that early on, and know what you want to do, that's a lucky thing. I became very directed in that way after I started playing the flute."
  4. ^ Bentley, Mary. (2005). [Quoting Nelson Rangell] – "Neither of my parents are musicians, although both of them...were very aesthetic people"
  5. ^ Wynn, Ron. "Members Only". AllMusic. Retrieved July 31, 2018.

External links[edit]