Guitarist Dean Magraw has been part of the local music scene since most of us can remember. I mentioned him to a friend yesterday who asked, “Didn’t he used to play on ‘A Prairie Home Companion?’ ” He did, among a bazillion other things.
I first became aware of Magraw as a jazz musician, but have since learned that’s the tip of a very big iceberg. For a short course on his many musical gifts, visit his website, check out last November’s profile/preview on MinnPost, and enjoy a video or two or three — solo, with his awesome trio Red Planet, or as a duo with button accordionist John Williams at the Cedar, one of Magraw’s favorite hangs.
Magraw recently underwent a bone marrow transplant. He has not performed live since April and has canceled all of his shows for the foreseeable future. To raise money for his living expenses, friends and fans have scheduled four (so far) benefits for him. The first happens this Sunday, Aug. 30, at the Celtic Junction in St. Paul.
The lineup is a Who’s Who of excellence and eclecticism: Dakota Dave Hull, the Petersons, Tim Sparks, Axis Mundi, Nirmala Rajesakar, Laura MacKenzie, J.T. Bates, Café Accordion Orchestra, Prudence Johnson, Dan Chouinard, Boiled in Lead, and many more. The benefit also includes a silent auction. Learn more at Do the Dean, the website recently launched as a way to stay informed about Magraw and send him messages.
Details: Sunday, Aug. 30. Doors open at 11:30 a.m., music starts at noon and continues until 10 p.m. Where: The Celtic Junction, 836 Prior Ave., St. Paul. Suggested donation: $15 or whatever you can afford.
There’s a full plate of jazz ahead as well.
Kelly Rossum Farewell Weekend. The trumpeter, composer, former head of MacPhail’s jazz program, and former Mohawk wearer (he recently shaved it) leaves on Sunday morning for new digs and a new life in NYC. How bright and early depends on how late he stays at the Dakota on Saturday night. We might barricade the Green Room and not let him go. See him with his quartet (Bryan Nichols on piano, Chris Bates on bass, J.T. Bates on drums) tonight and tomorrow. On Saturday, German organ virtuoso Barbara Dennerlein drops in for a special 10:00 set. She’s in Minnesota for a recital in Mahtomedi on Friday, and enough people bugged the Dakota to book her that they did. She’ll perform with Rossum, J.T. Bates, and a guitarist yet to be named. Kelly Rossum Quartet, Friday and Saturday, Aug. 28-29, 8 p.m., Dakota ($10); Barbara Dennerlein with Kelly Rossum, Saturday, Aug. 29, 10 p.m. ($15).
Charlie Parker’s Birthday/Saxophone Weekend. Area saxophonists pay tribute to the endlessly influential Bird, born Aug. 29, 1920. On Friday, Dave Karr, Gary Berg, and Bob Parsons explore his music and legacy; on Saturday, Karr, Brandon Wozniak, and Pete Whitman play. The rhythm section is golden: Chris Lomheim on piano, Adam Linz on bass, Kenny Horst on drums. Friday and Saturday, Aug. 28-29, 9 p.m., Artists’ Quarter ($17).
Jeanne Arland Peterson’s 88th Birthday/CD Release Celebration. Saxophonist Irv Williams just turned 90, and now Jeanne Arland Peterson is 88. If Bird had lived, he’d be 89. Maybe he should have moved to Minnesota. Peterson’s birthday is a good excuse to launch her most recent CD, “88 Grand,” a compilation of her recordings from the past and present. With a long career in music and radio, Peterson is our very own Marian McPartland. Come to toast and listen as friends and family party in the house and on the stage. Sunday, Aug. 30, 7 p.m., Artist’s Quarter ($10).