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Makaya McCraven

Makaya McCraven


Makaya has been called “one of the hardest drummers on the live music circuit” (revivalist.okayplayer.com). He has worked with an array of world class musicians including Archie Shepp, Yusef Lateef, Bernie Worrell, Soulive, Charles Neville, Marcus Strickland, Lionel Louke, and Bobby Broom.

Makaya has recorded extensively across genres. His debut record as a leader, 'Split Decision' (Chicago Sessions, 2012) was well received getting critical acclaim from the Chicago Tribune, Jazz Weekly, All about Jazz and reaching #6 for Blaze Radios top #25 in 2012. This record, reached the first round Grammy consideration, along with his 13 piece all-star band’s featured performance at Pritzker Pavillion at Millennium Park, which quickly established Makaya as one of the leading voices on the Chicago music scene. His 2015 release, 'In the Moment' (International Anthem Records), forges new routes in creative music, incorporating electronic elements and improvised music, includes award-winning artists Jeff Parker (Tortoise), Marquis Hill (2014 Monk competition winner) and D’Sean Jones (Underground Resistance). Makaya is a true improviser who, with each performance, creates a new live music experience.

Born in Paris in 1983 to drummer Stephen McCraven and Hungarian folk singer Agnes Zsigmondi, Makaya’s wide ranging influences include hip hop and funk, which inform his unique and exciting approach to music. Unquestionably respected as a jazz artist, Makaya also “sees no need to suppress his hip hop chops or rock spirit in an effort to fit in and be dubbed a jazz drummer” (AllAboutJazz.com). With this new band Makaya has opened for acclaimed artists such as Kamasi Washington, Wu-Tang Clan, 50 Cent, Rhazel, Digable Planets, The Pharcyde, Mixmaster Mike, and the Wailers to name a few.

Makaya is also an educator who endorses Vic Firth Sticks. His background, experience, and vision makes for a dynamic instrumentalist whose talent is undeniable to the listener.

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