James L. Dean

Mise En Scene

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On this CD, tenor saxophonist James L. Dean is often in the awkward position of being overshadowed by his sidemen. Time and time again the brilliant trumpeter Claudio Roditi takes solo honors as does guitarsit Vic Cenicola and (during his few appearances) trombonist Wayne Andre. Dean has trouble on some of the uptempo material, particularly Horace Silver's "Room 608." Even if he redeems himself on Wayne Shorter's "Infant Eyes," some of the tunes would have clearly benefitted from another runthrough. Billy Ver Planck contributes some suitable arrangements for the sextet/septet and Marlene Ver Planck steals the show during her two vocals ("Stranger in Town" and "I Didn't Know About You"). Although Dean (who plays some warm flute on "Very Early" and a touch of clarinet behind Ver Planck on "I Didn't Know About You") is never the star, this is a worthwhile set due to the playing of his sidemen.

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