Makaya McCraven is a beat scientist. The cutting edge drummer, producer, and sonic collagist is a multi-talented force whose inventive process & intuitive style of performance defy categorization.
Called “a sound visionary” (jazzinchicago.org) who is “not your everyday jazz drummer” (thewordisbond.com), McCraven brilliantly moves between genres and pushes the boundaries of jazz and rhythm to create forms of his own.
“You are listening to one incredible musician. His style and sound is unique, a heady, skillful, sophisticated and boldly uncompromising mix of jazz and hip hop…” (UK Vibe)
His breakthrough album In the Moment was released with International Anthem Recording Co. (IARC) in January of 2015 and quickly named “Album of the Week” on BBC 6 Radio by influential DJ Gilles Peterson. By the end of the year it was a “Best of 2015” selection for Los Angeles Times, Pop Matters, NPR Music’s Jazz Critics Poll, and Apple Music. In 2016, In The Moment was hailed by Turntable Lab as “one of the most important recordings to date in the modern Jazz world.” In The Moment was a dramatic statement by McCraven, where he debuted a unique brand of “organic beat music” 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.
“While Teo Macero’s work with Miles [Davis] might seem the obvious reference point, In The Moment is closer in spirit to Madlib and J Dilla.” (WIRE Magazine)
French-born but raised in the Pioneer Valley of Massachusetts by expatriate musician parents, McCraven went on to develop his chops in Chicago and now represents a rising generation of globally-minded, genre-bending music makers as an artist as well as band leader. Through his unique, rarified performances and collaborations he unapologetically affirms our right to re-think and re-write the rules, any rules, and affirms other artists in their own exploratory evolutions.
“No longer are we seeing jazz musicians experimenting with a new genre (hip hop) that they find interesting (or vice versa). Now what we’re seeing are jazz musicians who were heavily influenced by hip hop in their most formative years, just as much as they were influenced by jazz or any other genre. This creates a different kind of music. These cats aren’t ‘blending’ jazz and hip hop; for them, these genres are inseparable. They can’t play one without playing the other.” (thewordisbond.com)
Born in Paris, France in 1983 to jazz drummer Stephen McCraven (Sam Rivers, Archie Shepp) and Hungarian singer Agnes Zsigmondi, McCraven was exposed to broad ranges of influences from a young age. At age 3, in 1986 his family moved to the Pioneer Valley of Western Massachussetts, a time and place that afforded him the mentorship of his parents’ community of friends and collaborators, which included jazz luminaries Marion Brown, Archie Shepp and Yusef Lateef.