In These Times
PUT THIS IN YOUR DEN to hear McCraven at his absolute best. While beautiful and accessible, this album is filled with complex compositions. With an abundance of layers and textures to discover, this is a contemporary jazz record you'll find yourself spinning on repeat.
Available on indie-exclusive ivory wax
Chicago-based percussionist, composer, and producer Makaya McCraven’s new album, 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 seven plus 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.
McCraven spent the summer touring the global jazz-festival circuit, with Paste magazine noting that his “boundary-pushing free improvisations” have categorized him as one of the “new generation of jazz masters.” He headlined performances at NYC’s Central Park Summerstage and the opening of Chicago’s Salt Shed and played to some of the largest crowds at Newport Jazz Festival and Montreal Jazzfest, with WBGO noting of his recent appearance at Montreal: “(McCraven) showcased the many sides of his music, from hip-hop to the avant-garde. Whatever you call it, it’s music you can dance to, and definitely connects with the audience.”
Profiled in the New York Times, Vice, Pitchfork, Rolling Stone, the Guardian, and NPR, among other publications, 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. While In These Times is McCraven’s eighth album, in some sense, he’s only just arrived.