4

Makaya McCraven: Split Decision

Dan Bilawsky By

Sign in to view read count
Makaya McCraven: Split Decision Drummer Makaya McCraven supposedly "thinks about rhythm last" when composing, yet his music is all about rhythmic perspicacity. McCraven, who was born in Paris, spent his formative years in Massachusetts and eventually uprooted himself to move to Chicago, uses rhythm as a thickening agent, call to arms, catalyst and continual game changer, throughout this engaging debut.

McCraven put together a piano trio for his first leader date, but he doesn't make the same old piano trio music. This is no take on standards with sparkling cocktail party élan or loose, amorphous three-way conversation. This is music made by a 21st century man who sees no need to suppress his hip hop chops or rock spirit in an effort to fit in and be dubbed a jazz drummer. McCraven marries his love for music other than jazz with a more jazz-oriented spirit built around in-the-moment, improvisational cunning and driving grooves throughout this program of original music.

Kaleidoscopic shifts in rhythmic construction serve as an entryway into the album ("Split Decision") and mark the leader as a savvy stick wielder and composer from the get-go. The trio immediately creates a modus operandi built around contrasting spacious sections of music with stimuli-filled episodes that are brimming with rhythmic vitality. They prove that tension and release doesn't always have to revolve around harmony as they create a stir with their cross-rhythmic conversations and then put out the fire by trimming things back in this department.

Pianist Andrew Toombs makes his mark throughout with energetic right hand runs and firm chordal statements, bassist Tim Seisser delivers bubbly solos and seismic support with his electric bass and McCraven displays some fine, future-is-now drumming that calls to mind such forward thinkers as Eric Harland and Chris Dave. While the occasional number meanders and moves in circles without really finding itself ("Tasha's Tune"), the majority of the songs are chock full of inspired ideas. McCraven is a marvel to observe during "Toombs' Time" and Toombs himself makes the piano sparkle as he hums along to his own solo ideas at various points on the album. Both men connect in a strange way on "Without A Doubt," which opens on a statement of dour beauty that's underscored by some rumbling drums and eventually takes shape as a vamping pattern that builds to a fever pitch.

Makaya McCraven may be more of a regional presence at this point in his career, but his talents aren't likely to be bound by the borders of the Windy City. Split Decision should be a source of pride for this promising up-and-comer.


Track Listing: SPlit Decision; Toombs' Time; Shades Of Grey; New Movement; Zsiga; Interlude Ruff; Jho's Beat; Tasha's Tune; McGregor Bay; Without A Doubt.

Personnel: Makaya McCraven: drums; Andrew Toombs: piano; Tim Seisser: bass.

Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: Chicago Sessions


Shop

More Articles

Read Fellowship CD/LP/Track Review Fellowship
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 22, 2017
Read E.S.T. Symphony CD/LP/Track Review E.S.T. Symphony
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 22, 2017
Read June CD/LP/Track Review June
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 22, 2017
Read The Invariant CD/LP/Track Review The Invariant
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 22, 2017
Read Akua's Dance CD/LP/Track Review Akua's Dance
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Daylight Ghosts CD/LP/Track Review Daylight Ghosts
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 21, 2017
Read "Reliquia" CD/LP/Track Review Reliquia
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 30, 2016
Read "Negative Spaces" CD/LP/Track Review Negative Spaces
by Dave Wayne
Published: November 20, 2016
Read "Visual Music" CD/LP/Track Review Visual Music
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 27, 2016
Read "Altered Narratives" CD/LP/Track Review Altered Narratives
by Mark Corroto
Published: March 13, 2016
Read "Molto Bene" CD/LP/Track Review Molto Bene
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 23, 2017
Read "Tie the Stone to the Wheel" CD/LP/Track Review Tie the Stone to the Wheel
by John Eyles
Published: April 3, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!