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About Makaya McCraven

Makaya McCraven is a beat scientist. The bleeding edge drummer, producer, and sonic collagist is one of Chicago’s savviest cultural players and a multi-talented force whose inventive process & intuitive, cinematic style defy categorization.

French-born but raised in the Pioneer Valley of Massachusetts by expatriate musician parents, McCraven studied Jazz at the University of Massachusetts Amherst under the mentorship of jazz luminaries Archie Shepp, Marion Brown, and Yusef Lateef, and eventually went on to develop his chops in Chicago’s burgeoning scene.

His breakthrough album In the Moment was released with International Anthem Recording Co. (IARC) in 2015 and received widespread acclaim, proving to be a dramatic statement by McCraven that quickly launched him into the vanguard of not only Internationally-known jazz artists, but also a niche genre of next-wave composer-producers blurring the boundaries of jazz & electronic music.

His recent releases, the DJ-style mixtape Highly Rare (IARC, 2017) as well as an internationally recorded Where We Come From (CHICAGOxLONDON Mixtape) (IARC, 2018) have been well received globally, leading to increased bookings in some of the world’s best clubs, theaters, and festivals alongside the likes of Corey Wilkes, Bobby (Baabe) Irving (Miles Davis), Ari Brown, and Bernie Worrell.

McCraven is currently on tour and just released Universal Beings, a 2xLP album featuring an A-list of “new” jazz players from New York, Chicago, London & Los Angeles.

“Mr. McCraven, a Chicago-based drummer, producer and beat maker, has quietly become one of the best arguments for jazz’s vitality”
“If improvisation is a science, McCraven is one of the finest in the lab.”
“McCraven expands his entry into the eternally popular realm of jazz-inflected beatmaking (and groove-oriented jazzmaking) with this re-release, a polished effort that begs for (but doesn’t require) rappers to add their take on top.”
“Capturing a sound informed by hip-hop’s cut-and-paste beat constructions as much as Teo Macero, McCraven distilled the results into an album that forms an infectious, innovative celebration of creation and the almighty groove.”
“Highly Rare channels an electric night of raw improv into a shapeshifting form halfway between hip-hop and free jazz.”