Jazz at Studio Z
Dean Magraw & Eric Kamau Gravatt
May 16, 2015
Studio Z: 275 East Fourth Street, Suite 200, St. Paul
6 p.m. master class
7 p.m. concert
Dean Magraw is a consummate guitarist, playing with wit and soulful abandon. A performer like no other, he is part-comedian, part-philosopher and all-around musical genius. Transcending genre, he has performed with a cornucopia of collaborators from jazz organist Jack McDuff to folk icon Greg Brown, trad Irish supergroup Altan to classical violinist Nigel Kennedy.
With his eclectic background and musical versatility, he quickly evolved into one of the most innovative guitarists on the international scene as well as one of the most accomplished and original composers, arrangers and producers around. From playing on public radio’s A Prairie Home Companion to leading up his own experimental jam band Eight Head, Dean has literally generated a new world of music.
In addition to his role as an in-demand sideman on over two hundred recording projects, Dean has proven pivotal in creating more than a dozen albums, including five for Red House Records: Wise-Magraw (1985), Broken Silence (1994), Seventh One (1998), Duo (1991), an album he recorded with Emmy Award winning multi-instrumentalist Peter Ostroushko and How the Light Gets In (2010) with Marcus Wise.
American musician, educator and world-renowned drummer and percussionist, Philadelphia native Eric Kamau Gravatt has played with world-class jazz artists and toured internationally since the 1970s. He started his career in the mid-1960s, recording with artists from that era including Byard Lancaster, Lloyd McNeill, Andrew White, Terumasa Hino, Eddie Henderson, and Joe Henderson.
Over a career spanning almost five decades, Gravatt has played with many of the greatest musicians and bands of jazz, including Woody Shaw, Howard Roberts, Albert Ayler, Sonny Fortune, Kenny Dorham, Gary Bartz and more.
Gravatt’s career attracted worldwide attention while he played with Weather Report, beginning with 1972's I Sing The Body Electric. After the making of the group's 1973's Sweetnighter he decided to leave Weather Report and joined the group Natural Life in 1974.
Gravatt then moved to the Minneapolis where he continued to play; he recorded with McCoy Tyner's Focal Point in 1977 and worked as a prison guard. He has always insisted that although he was disappointed with the manner in which the business of jazz had forced him into working outside music in order for him and his family to survive, he felt no bitterness. During these years he played with his band Source Code. He also recorded with Bill Carrothers on 1986's The Artful Dodger.
Since retiring from working in the prison system, Gravatt runs a recording studio and a publishing company, 1619 Music, and directs the group Source Code. In 2004, he toured with Tyner's big band and also worked in a trio with Tyner and Charnett Moffett, garnering rave reviews and performing at prestigious festivals in the USA and overseas.
He currently lives in Minnesota and has returned to recording with Fire on the Nile, his first release for Red House Records.
Visit jazzatstudioz.org for more information.
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