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Dan Dean: 2 5 1

Bruce Lindsay By

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Take four talented and creative keyboard players, one at a time. Select a few standards, plus one original tune. Pick up your electric bass and join in. Enjoy. The result is 2 5 1, an immediately accessible and inviting album of keyboard and bass duets from Dan Dean and his guests.

Of course, the above plan only works if the bassist is as talented as his guest keyboard artists—thankfully, Dean meets that requirement. He's an experienced musician, an educator, a producer and the developer of the Dan Dean Sample Libraries—his playing is dexterous and inventive throughout the album. All of Dean's fellow musicians perform exceptionally. Larry Goldings' Hammond organ is seriously funky especially on an up-tempo, grooving, version of Thelonious Monk's "In Walked Bud." George Duke's performance on his own tune—"It's On"—is light, melodic and uplifting. Kenny Werner playfully deconstructs the Gershwins' "'S Wonderful" before returning for a more reflective duet on Herbie Hancock's "Dolphin Dance." Dean moves seamlessly between his guests—matching their inventiveness at every turn.

The most fascinating tune here—in terms of structure, instrumentation and sound—is Jimmy Davis, Roger Ramirez and James Sherman's "Lover Man." Dean is joined by Gil Goldstein on accordion and the interplay between the two musicians is a delight. The accordion/bass guitar combination captures the song's pathos as first Dean then Goldstein takes responsibility for the melody—then the two musicians decide to abandon the melody line for another piece of deconstruction, until Dean returns to it again in the closing seconds before, suddenly, it ends.

Harvey Siders' humorous liner notes offer more than enough information about the musical technicalities behind this album's title, as well as giving some useful track-by-track insights. But the tunes and the performances speak for themselves. The electric bass may not historically be the first choice instrument for a jazz rhythm section, but 2 5 1 places it center-stage and, in the company of four superb keyboard players, Dean's playing creates some fresh and entertaining takes on the jazz songbook.

Track Listing: S'Wonderful; One Note Samba; All the Things You Are; It's On; Dolphin Dance; Georgia On My Mind; Stella By Starlight; I Got You (I Feel Good); Lover Man; In Walked Bud; Body and Soul.

Personnel: Dan Dean: electric bass; George Duke: piano (4, 7); Larry Goldings: Hammond B3 Organ (2, 6, 8, 10); Gil Goldstein: piano and accordion (3, 9); Kenny Werner: piano (1, 5, 11).

Title: 2 5 1 | Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Origin Records

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