Saturday, February 5, 2011

Dean Magraw & Marcus Wise @ The Cedar Cultural Center 2/5/11

So, the big "cd release" show for How the Light Gets In is this evening, at the Cedar Cultural Center. Good to see an appearance on Kare11 with of all people, Diana Pierce. I was just asking myself, what are the odds Diana ends up going to the show, or even listening to the album (or more of Dean's music)? I'd love to know.

But it's cool they did that appearance. This town (and plenty of other towns) though need like a dozen more kind of stories about this album and Dean, at least to the point where it'll seem his name and everything he's overcome will be known to the point it should be.

But along those lines and this show which I am attending this evening (and having to unfortunately miss Greg Herriges show at the Loring Theater), I have been taking-in some other recent Dean purchases.

Dean Magraw's Red Planet - Space Dust

Peter Ostroushko with Dean Magraw - Duo

These 2 records have been getting regular rotation for me of late. The Red Planet album is a live disc recorded at The Artist Quarter in St.Paul (I believe) sometime in the last few years. 2007 maybe. Anyway, it's phenomenal, and maybe the best account that I've heard, on any mastered recording, of how amazing Dean can be live. He does those Coltrane adaptations so masterfully. Others like Hendrix, Gershwin, and the Solomon Linda tune "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" is breathtaking. Plus some original stuff from him and his Red Planet band mates Chris Bates (whose brother JT plays drums with another one of Dean's groups Eight-head), and Jay Epstein.

Jay Epstein honestly, is maybe the most precise drummer I've ever seen live. And it comes across in that album too. My gawd, he might rival Paul Wetico. He's just so intricate. When I saw them perform back in December, my jaw kept dropping over and over.

And I guess for that reason among others, I might regard this Red Planet disc Space Dust as my favorite Dean album ever. Or at least among what I've heard. I enjoy his recordings, but the shows have always been what have taken the cake for me. And finally, I can look to something on record and call it my go-to.

The Duo record with Peter Ostroushko is also something I've been sleeping on for far too long. And now being 2011, it is the 20-year anniversary of its release. I'm not sure if KFAI or another station or media outlet will do something for that, but they should. As far as the album though, it's a little different for me hearing Dean play primarily rhythm parts with Peter's incredible mandolin work. But the mandolin certainly is a big part of the quality of it. Some awesome acoustic jams. The 3rd cut "Three Brazilian Melodies" has some wonderful sections to it. "The Prairie Suite" as well. There's a lot of good cultural music on here.

I guess with some of the acoustic music I've been enjoying of late, such as Punch Brothers and even The River Empires, Lehto & Wright and The Galactic Cowboy Orchestra, this record certainly has mixed well.

I think it's also note worthy that it was a few years later, the Stanley Clarke, Al Di Meola, Jean-Luc Ponty record The Rite of Strings was released. I doubt it, but I couldn't help wonder if there was an influence. Who knows, maybe those guys knew/know Dean and Peter and were inspired to make an acoustic jazzy string record after hearing Duo.