Bassist Dan Dean shows his talent and versatility on the superb 2 5 1. This CD takes its title from the familiar turnaround that is a key element in the harmonic progression of many classic songs. The 11 numbers here include ten standards and one George Duke composition. They all utilize this musical pattern, but listeners can ignore the technical and just enjoy the music.
Each track is set in a duo concept with various top musicians on piano, keyboard or organ, coming in to join Dean's virtuoso playing on electric bass. All contribute mightily, but standing out among partners is pianist Kenny Werner who appears on three tracks, including a delightful version of Gershwin's "S'Wonderful." On this, the opening number, Dean's prowess is displayed immediately as he gives "walking" on the bass a new meaning. The two supplely turn the melody inside out. It's a delight.
From the jaunty "S'Wonderful,"to the soulful "Body and Soul," it makes for a pleasing contrast. Dean's bass becomes a vibrant purr to accompany Werners soulful flutter of notes.
Larry Goldings on B-3 Hammond organ joins in on four numbers. He is particularly good on the gritty R&B rouser, James Brown's "I Got You (I Feel Good)," and a bluesy "Georgia On My Mind," performed in a Ray Charles vein. Here, Dean's low-down bass most effectively takes part in the emotional conversation.
Pianist George Duke, appearing twice, stands out on "Stella By Starlight." His flashy piano runs are complemented by Dean's complex solo, which features a fulsome vibrato.
Certainly, a further highlight is the collaboration with pianist Gil Goldstein, producing the most inventive arrangement on the date: "All the Things You Are." Delightfully, they take the familiar melody in entirely new directions, finishing with a lilting unison passage.
On "Lover Man," Goldstein switches to accordion which proves the perfect background for Dean's throbbing bass ? a real showcase for Dean's prowess. This, and all numbers considered, may persuade die-hard upright fans to see the virtues of electric bass.