Makaya McCraven

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Mccraven Makaya
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Biography (Excerpt)

In These Times, the new album by percussionist, producer, and composer Makaya McCraven, has been in process since 2015. It’s the album McCraven’s been trying to make since he started making records, an appropriately career-defining body of work. The eleven-song suite was created over seven-plus years, as McCraven strived to fuse odd-meter compositions from his working songbook with orchestral, large-ensemble arrangements and the edit-heavy “organic beat music” he’s honed over the years. With contributions from over a dozen musicians and creative partners from his tight-knit circle of collaborators—including Jeff Parker, Junius Paul, Brandee Younger, Joel Ross, and Marquis Hill—In These Times highlights McCraven’s unique gift for collapsing space, destroying borders, and blending past, present, and future into poly-textural arrangements of post-genre, jazz-rooted 21st-century folk music.

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10
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Facebook URL
https://www.facebook.com/MakayaMcCraven/
Twitter URL
https://twitter.com/makayamccraven
Instagram URL
https://www.instagram.com/makayamccraven/

Chicago-based percussionist, composer and producer Makaya McCraven releases his new album In These Times, on September 23, 2022 via International Anthem / Nonesuch / XL Recordings. The first offering from the new album is a song tiled “Seventh String,” which encapsulates the various musical dimensions present on McCraven’s new album, a career-defining body of work that is a remarkable new peak for the already-soaring McCraven.

In These Times is a collection of polytemporal compositions inspired as much by broader cultural struggles as McCraven’s personal experience as a product of a multinational, working class musician community. It’s the recording that he’s been trying to create for 7+ years, as it’s been consistently in process in the background while he’s put forth a prolific run of releases including: In The Moment (2015), Highly Rare (2017), Where We Come From (2018), Universal Beings (2018), We’re New Again (2020), Universal Beings E&F Sides (2020), and Deciphering the Message (2021). With contributions from over a dozen musicians and creative partners from his tight-knit circle of collaborators – including Jeff Parker, Junius Paul, Brandee Younger, Joel Ross, and Marquis Hill – the music was recorded in five different studios and four live performance spaces while McCraven engaged in extensive post-production work at home. Featuring orchestral, large ensemble arrangements interwoven with the signature “organic beat music” sound that’s become his signature, the album is an evolution and a milestone for McCraven, the producer. But moreover, it’s the strongest and clearest statement we’ve yet to hear from McCraven, the composer.

Profiled in the New York Times, Vice, Pitchfork, Rolling Stone, the Guardian, and NPR, among other publications, Makaya and the music he makes today is what Passion of Weiss explains, “is part of a necessary conversation about the next evolution of the Black improvised music known colloquially as ‘jazz.’ He’s found the threads connecting the past with the present, and is either wrapping them with new colors and textures, or he’s plucking them gleefully like the strings of a grand instrument.”

McCraven, who has been aptly called a “cultural synthesizer” and “beat scientist,” has a unique gift for collapsing space, destroying borders and blending past, present, and future into poly-textural arrangements of post-genre, jazz-rooted 21st century folk music. In These Times encompasses his artistic ethos, his experiences, identity and lineage, while pushing his music to new heights.

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Latest Release

  • September 23, 2022

    In These Times, the new album by percussionist, producer, and composer Makaya McCraven, has been in process since 2015. It’s the album McCraven’s been trying to make since he started making records, an appropriately career-defining body of work. The eleven-song suite was created over seven-plus years, as McCraven strived to fuse odd-meter compositions from his working songbook with orchestral, large-ensemble arrangements and the edit-heavy “organic beat music” he’s honed over the years. With contributions from over a dozen musicians and creative partners from his tight-knit circle of collaborators—including Jeff Parker, Junius Paul, Brandee Younger, Joel Ross, and Marquis Hill—In These Times highlights McCraven’s unique gift for collapsing space, destroying borders, and blending past, present, and future into poly-textural arrangements of post-genre, jazz-rooted 21st-century folk music.

Releases

News

  • October 10, 2023

    Makaya McCraven, whose album In These Times, was released a year ago last month and is currently performing music from the album on tour across the US, has just released a video of him performing the track “This Place That Place” live at Public Records in Brooklyn ahead of the album’s release. McCraven had assembled a unique ensemble with a string quartet to perform special arrangements of songs from his new album for the Brooklyn event captured in the video by director Matthew Edginton. You can watch it here.

  • May 10, 2023

    Makaya McCraven, who performs at the Knockdown Center in Queens, NY, this Saturday as part of the Outline Festival, is the guest on the latest episode of the International Anthem Podcast. McCraven spoke with host Ayana Contreras from his Chicago home about the reception of his acclaimed new album, In These Times, and revisits the concepts, intentions, growth, and changes the work encompassed along his decade-long journey of making it. You can hear their conversation here.

Tour

Thu, Jul 25
New York, NY
Blue Note
Thu, Jul 25
New York, NY
Blue Note
Fri, Jul 26
New York, NY
Blue Note
Fri, Jul 26
New York, NY
Blue Note
Sat, Jul 27
New York, NY
Blue Note
Sat, Jul 27
New York, NY
Blue Note
Sun, Jul 28
New York, NY
Blue Note
Sun, Jul 28
New York, NY
Blue Note
Sun, Aug 04
Newport, RI
Fort Adams State Park
Sun, Aug 04
Newport, RI
Fort Adams State Park
Wed, Oct 30
Chapel Hill, NC
Memorial Hall
Wed, Oct 30
Chapel Hill, NC
Memorial Hall

Photos

About Makaya McCraven

  • Chicago-based percussionist, composer and producer Makaya McCraven releases his new album In These Times, on September 23, 2022 via International Anthem / Nonesuch / XL Recordings. The first offering from the new album is a song tiled “Seventh String,” which encapsulates the various musical dimensions present on McCraven’s new album, a career-defining body of work that is a remarkable new peak for the already-soaring McCraven.

    In These Times is a collection of polytemporal compositions inspired as much by broader cultural struggles as McCraven’s personal experience as a product of a multinational, working class musician community. It’s the recording that he’s been trying to create for 7+ years, as it’s been consistently in process in the background while he’s put forth a prolific run of releases including: In The Moment (2015), Highly Rare (2017), Where We Come From (2018), Universal Beings (2018), We’re New Again (2020), Universal Beings E&F Sides (2020), and Deciphering the Message (2021). With contributions from over a dozen musicians and creative partners from his tight-knit circle of collaborators – including Jeff Parker, Junius Paul, Brandee Younger, Joel Ross, and Marquis Hill – the music was recorded in five different studios and four live performance spaces while McCraven engaged in extensive post-production work at home. Featuring orchestral, large ensemble arrangements interwoven with the signature “organic beat music” sound that’s become his signature, the album is an evolution and a milestone for McCraven, the producer. But moreover, it’s the strongest and clearest statement we’ve yet to hear from McCraven, the composer.

    Profiled in the New York Times, Vice, Pitchfork, Rolling Stone, the Guardian, and NPR, among other publications, Makaya and the music he makes today is what Passion of Weiss explains, “is part of a necessary conversation about the next evolution of the Black improvised music known colloquially as ‘jazz.’ He’s found the threads connecting the past with the present, and is either wrapping them with new colors and textures, or he’s plucking them gleefully like the strings of a grand instrument.”

    McCraven, who has been aptly called a “cultural synthesizer” and “beat scientist,” has a unique gift for collapsing space, destroying borders and blending past, present, and future into poly-textural arrangements of post-genre, jazz-rooted 21st century folk music. In These Times encompasses his artistic ethos, his experiences, identity and lineage, while pushing his music to new heights.

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