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 and 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.

With his 2021 remix album, Deciphering The Message, McCraven digs through the vaults of the legendary jazz label Blue Note Records to put a modern bounce on classics by Art Blakey, Horace Silver, Hank Mobley, Kenny Burrell, and Eddie Gale, among others. Across numerous albums and mixtapes, McCraven has proven his mastery of the loop akin to hip-hop’s most celebrated beatmakers like J Dilla and Madlib, both of whom also found inspiration in the Blue Note catalog.

With acclaimed releases like In The Moment (2015) and Universal Beings (2018), McCraven created his own lane in jazz by sampling his band playing improvised sessions throughout the world, then molding the audio several times to pull contrasting moods from it. For his previous most recent project, McCraven remixed Gil Scott-Heron’s final album I’m New Here into the equally emotive LP, We’re New Again (2020).

McCraven has always been a collaborative artist and Deciphering The Message features newly recorded elements from vibraphonist Joel Ross, trumpeter Marquis Hill, alto saxophonist Greg Ward, guitarists Matt Gold and Jeff Parker, bassist Junius Paul, and De’Sean Jones on tenor saxophone and flute. In that way, Deciphering The Message connects the past and present, proving that musicians become legends by trekking the same roads with like-minded creators all moving toward the same goal.

Past Shows


May
25
th
2022
Fine Line
May
25
th
2022
Fine Line

Makaya McCraven

with Dosh

More Shows

Oct
5
th
Fine Line

JP Cooper

Jun
29
th
First Avenue

Flip Phone Pride XXL ft. Morphine Love Dion and Mhi’ya Iman Le’Paige

Nov
22
nd
First Avenue

Dylan Gossett

Oct
15
th
Turf Club

Joshua Hyslop