Makaya McCraven

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This is such a long overdue thread. Anyway, now there's a place to anticipate In These Times, which is due in September: https://intlanthem.bandcamp.com/album/in-these-times

Preview track "Seventh String" sounds p great, though obviously it's not a "single"

rob, Tuesday, 21 June 2022 14:20 (seven months ago) link

I saw him give a master class in Portland, OR a few years ago, and while I wasn't very familiar with his work, I was really knocked out by it. He said, "Pulse is the basis of what we as drummers do." Afterwards I asked him about the pulse in percussionists who didn't play metric time (Sunny Murray, Milford Graves, Rashied Ali). He said, "There's still the same pulse -- they just don't have to overtly state it." I thought that was interesting. He also talked about how he got into non-standard time signatures (say, 5/8 or 7/8) from Hungarian folk music.

Montgomery Burns' Jazz (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Tuesday, 21 June 2022 14:28 (seven months ago) link

Very interesting dude. I interviewed him for The Wire a few years ago. I pre-ordered this new album (which I'm surprised is on IA/Nonesuch, as his last thing was on Blue Note — I guess that was a one-off, or it didn't do the numbers they hoped for).

but also fuck you (unperson), Tuesday, 21 June 2022 14:35 (seven months ago) link

Instant pre-order for me, really looking forward to this.

a superficial sheeb of intelligence (jon /via/ chi 2.0), Tuesday, 21 June 2022 14:40 (seven months ago) link

I'd also *highly* recommend seeing him live if you can; really psyched he's playing the Jazz Fest here at the end of the month

rob, Tuesday, 21 June 2022 16:25 (seven months ago) link

Excited for this, I was at the Walker gig that was recorded to be used on this

chr1sb3singer, Tuesday, 21 June 2022 16:44 (seven months ago) link

Although this album is “new," the truth it’s something that's been in process for a very long time, since shortly after he released his International Anthem debut In The Moment in 2015. Dedicated followers may note he’s had 6 other releases in the meantime (including 2018’s widely-popular Universal Beings and 2020’s We’re New Again, his rework of Gil Scott-Heron’s final album for XL Recordings); but none of which have been as definitive an expression of his artistic ethos as In These Times.

Universal Beings is pretty perfect, imo, so the bar for this is certainly high.

fetter, Tuesday, 21 June 2022 16:45 (seven months ago) link

Shoulda checked email sooner: press release says Sept.23, and

Contributing musicians: Jeff Parker, Junius Paul, Brandee Younger, Lia Kohl, Macie Stewart, Zara Zaharieva, Marta Sofia Honer, Greg Ward, Irvin Pierce, Marquis Hill, Matt Gold, Greg Spero, Joel Ross, De’Sean Jones, and Rob Clearfield.

dow, Tuesday, 21 June 2022 20:34 (seven months ago) link

four weeks pass...

Feels like the new album is going to be really groovy, I love this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qsr7IYLhG1o

rob, Wednesday, 20 July 2022 14:03 (six months ago) link

He's doing a free show in Central Park. Will have to check it out (hopefully won't be too long of a line to get in).

birdistheword, Wednesday, 20 July 2022 15:18 (six months ago) link

Yeah, I've also dug how he's a working link between Chicago and London jazz---and in 2020, this made several of my ballots---from blogged comments:

Gil Scott-Heron/Makaya McCraven, We're New Again: A Reimagining By Makaya McCraven---Still haven't heard the original album, or Jamie xx's reworking, but the unmistakable sound and sensibility of classic Gil come through: sharp, reflective glints in the dark, rough-edged and fluid, lyrical and realist, searching and on point, thematic and grooving---jazzwise, yet "blues is a feeling" the overall. Only thing is, some of the originals are really short, like down to 37 seconds: golden kernels of potential and realization---McCraven is def. not showboating, but I wish he extended these--maybe he was required to stick to the original track times? I'd like a bit more---Anyway, it's all good, though faves are mostly because they have longer to make an impression: "New York is Killing Me," "I'll Take Care of You," "Me and the Devil"--yes, Scott-Heron and Robert Johnson and Mr. D. riding the Greyhound, seems natural. Speaking voice is worn but clear, singing voice not that different from 1970s.
Or is it? Still nobody but him.

dow, Wednesday, 20 July 2022 22:21 (six months ago) link

two months pass...

First listen to the new album: it's a warm & gentle breeze. So much so it'll take more listening to pick out details as the core sound of harp, strings, drums, and percussion (it veers into minimalist Reich/Eastman territory often) makes it airy and even trance-y (not the genre) at times. "So Ubuji" was a standout, but it flows from start to finish

rob, Friday, 23 September 2022 13:41 (four months ago) link

I listened to it back to back with a Hubert Laws album, In the Beginning, and they were basically the same record: soft grooves, harp, strings, flute...it's very funny to me that early '70s silky soul-jazz a la CTI is the new hipness.

but also fuck you (unperson), Friday, 23 September 2022 14:21 (four months ago) link

yeah I was trying to think of historic comparisons but I don't know that sub-genre of jazz at all, because it was always so denigrated! I also really liked the Resavoir album on IA and this is in a similar mode (also the recent Brandee Younger, but that's kind of obvs given her involvement). I do think the rhythmic elements are a point of departure though

rob, Friday, 23 September 2022 14:24 (four months ago) link

yeah CTI filtered through the rhythmic possibilities of hip hop / electronic music (in the best way possible). Love this record.

tylerw, Friday, 23 September 2022 14:39 (four months ago) link

My copy arrived today and I haven’t heard a note, but the CTI talk has me excited.

i need to put some clouds behind the reaper (PBKR), Friday, 23 September 2022 15:12 (four months ago) link

I'm kinda missing the energy of Universal Beings, but it's pretty wonderful nonetheless.

fetter, Friday, 23 September 2022 15:17 (four months ago) link

Just listened for first time on Bandcamp, and holy crap did CTI ever get this good?? Seems like this is more idiosyncratically expressive, more gentle than genteel, more coat-of-many-colors textured, w bass and drums and some other featured individual instruments, whether soloing or not, more assertive in the orchestrated starlight focus---also more varied, with the Afro-Reich takeback loop effect of "The Fours," bass and drums through canopy of strings and flute on "Seventh String," followed immediately by the so African-associated "So Ubuji," then galactic/Hendrixian blues guitar of "The Knew Untitled"(for example)---more like an extension of Attica Blues-worthy intensity and finesse(incl. use of speaking voice on opener) than any CTI I've heard, although admittedly I used to avoid it like the bourgie elevator plague, having gotten just a bare and maybe not entirely fair impression of that.
Despite the hype, bandcamp pitch seems fair:

As epic and expansive as it is impressively potent and concise, the 11 song suite was created over 7+ years, as McCraven strived to design a highly personal but broadly communicable fusion of odd-meter original compositions from his working songbook with orchestral, large ensemble arrangements and the edit-heavy “organic beat music” that he’s honed over a growing body of production-craft.

And
The pure fact that he was able to so eloquently condense and articulate the immense human scale of the work into 41 fleeting minutes of emotive and engaging sound is a monumental achievement.
Well, damned impressive at least, and certainly key to the effect of expansiveness x discipline. So far, although I guess I might come to find some of it too much. Worth the risk. Some Kamasi Washington appeal too.

dow, Friday, 23 September 2022 19:21 (four months ago) link

You should dig into the CTI catalog. It's more adventurous than you think. Check out George Benson's Beyond the Blue Horizon and White Rabbit, Hubert Laws' In the Beginning and Afro-Classic and The Rite of Spring for records that seem to be right in this same zone, but there's lots of other good shit, too.

but also fuck you (unperson), Friday, 23 September 2022 19:33 (four months ago) link

That one Joe Farrell album with John McLaughlin rules

brimstead, Friday, 23 September 2022 19:38 (four months ago) link

Moon Germs by Joe Farrell is great (with Herbie). Milt Jackson's Sunflower. Love Crawl Space by Art Farmer.

Shard-borne Beatles with their drowsy hums (Chinaski), Friday, 23 September 2022 19:42 (four months ago) link

I think I was sleepy when I listened this morning, it's still very groovy but it hits harder than I thought

rob, Friday, 23 September 2022 20:13 (four months ago) link

George Benson's White Rabbit is so good. One advantage of the CTI albums is they are relatively cheap on vinyl.

The Makaya McCraven is pretty great. tylerw's reference that it is CTI filtered through hip-hop/electronic music is otm.

i need to put some clouds behind the reaper (PBKR), Friday, 23 September 2022 23:58 (four months ago) link

Getting a bit of a 'Four Tet circa Rounds' vibe from this new McCraven album (not a huge surprise given Hebden's magpie tendencies and his obvious love for the CTI sound - 'CTI filtered through hip-hop/electronic music' could be a Hebden tagline tbh).

Shard-borne Beatles with their drowsy hums (Chinaski), Saturday, 24 September 2022 10:16 (four months ago) link

Doesn't sound all that hip-hop/electronics to me, but if that take lures more people into listening, hey great.
Thanx for tips/reassurances re CTI yall---especially

hat one Joe Farrell album with John McLaughlin rules

The local station fairly often plays a track from this, also excerpted between shows on NPR. Did not realize that it's on CTI, will let that alb be my gateway.

dow, Saturday, 24 September 2022 16:02 (four months ago) link

This one, right?!
wiki:

Joe Farrell Quartet is a jazz album by Joe Farrell that was released by CTI Records. It was recorded at the Van Gelder Studio on July 1 and 2, 1970.[1] Guitarist John McLaughlin plays on two tracks, and there are two duo tracks, one with Dave Holland and one with Chick Corea. The album was re-released twice in the mid 1970s (with different cover art in each instance) as Super Session and Song of the Wind.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aRFg_WUKrwY

dow, Saturday, 24 September 2022 16:08 (four months ago) link

Doesn't sound all that hip-hop/electronics to me

maybe listen to The Fours again

rob, Saturday, 24 September 2022 20:29 (four months ago) link

I figured that was being referred to, but seemed like the loop effect could have been played live in the studio (maybe with a discreet little "beat science" tweak to enhance the effect, but not nec.)

dow, Saturday, 24 September 2022 21:05 (four months ago) link

love this album. favourites tracks are probably “So Ubuji” and “Lullaby”. “Lullaby” reminds me (someone who knows very little of jazz) of some beautiful Turkish stuff I used to listen to a lot.

big movers, hot steppers + long shaker intros (breastcrawl), Sunday, 25 September 2022 12:47 (four months ago) link

Album is great, Ubuji is a top ten of the year methinks

Speaking of jazz w hip-hop and electronics, also check the latest by the late great Jaimie Branch's other group, Anteloper:
https://intlanthem.bandcamp.com/album/pink-dolphins
Turns out that they're avowed Live-Evil fanz too.

dow, Monday, 26 September 2022 23:14 (four months ago) link

New (last) album from The Comet Is Coming fits that bill too

breastcrawl, i'm glad you also picked up on "lullaby" as a standout. truly gorgeous.

the closing three tracks are also quite the trip, and in three different styles. "so ubuji" is danceable in a way that a lot of songs on here aren't, it's probably that emphasis on the upbeat. "the knew untitled" has this dreamy debussy-esque feeling until the guitar comes in and wails. "the title" wears its hip-hop influences proudly on its sleeves, while the strings and harp provide a kind of reverie that doesn't usually accompany this style of percussion.

comedy khadafi (voodoo chili), Tuesday, 27 September 2022 16:58 (four months ago) link

It's vibey for sure, there's not a lot of jazz-like leading blowing, but there's a lot of serious beat science going on (especially in the early tracks, he's using a bunch of different devices to get that drunken Dilla feel), and lots of great drumming. I love it.

change display name (Jordan), Tuesday, 27 September 2022 17:04 (four months ago) link

"Lullaby" is beautiful, yeah. I don't know Hungarian folk music at all, but I assume that's the "eastern" influence there? (given his family background & interest in it). Very cool how differently people are hearing this

rob, Tuesday, 27 September 2022 17:23 (four months ago) link

two weeks pass...

ridiculously good album

Indexed, Wednesday, 12 October 2022 17:24 (three months ago) link

Really is. Such a nice progression from Universal Beings and the songs have a feel razor sharp feel to the editing and composition, yet sound soft as a feather.

octobeard, Wednesday, 12 October 2022 18:43 (three months ago) link

Yeah, this is pretty incredible. I can see how someone looking for Universal Beings II might find this too mellow, but this really is gorgeous. "Dream Another" and "Lullaby" is where I really started to fall for this record, by "Seventh String" and "So Ubuji" I was convinced that this is a damn near masterpiece.

a superficial sheeb of intelligence (jon /via/ chi 2.0), Friday, 21 October 2022 17:09 (three months ago) link

I've been listening to it almost every day.

sometimes you have to drink to kill the paranoia (PBKR), Friday, 21 October 2022 22:29 (three months ago) link

was too burned out from a show on Wednesday to go see him last night, love the new album

sleeve, Friday, 21 October 2022 22:37 (three months ago) link

Dream Another is superb. I'm going to be spending a lot more time with this record.

The Ghost Club, Saturday, 22 October 2022 01:01 (three months ago) link

yes this is fantastic. also, enjoyed his version of I'm New Here far more than the Jamie XX

Hmmmmm (jamiesummerz), Saturday, 22 October 2022 07:41 (three months ago) link

and it seemed to get totally ignored/not talked about last year?

Hmmmmm (jamiesummerz), Saturday, 22 October 2022 07:41 (three months ago) link

two months pass...

"This Place That Place" is a song I have come back to again and again this year. I appreciate how well constructed his songs and albums are, but I wouldn't hate to hear a bit more of his drumming let loose.

Indexed, Wednesday, 18 January 2023 22:34 (two weeks ago) link

live show I caught this past fall was amazing, and McCraven definitely was less reined in than on the record — band was Jeff Parker, Junius Paul and D'Sean Jones, just nonstop grooves.

tylerw, Wednesday, 18 January 2023 22:54 (two weeks ago) link

his live drumming really is phenomenal. I wouldn't mind the next album being looser, though he's not set a wrong foot yet

rob, Wednesday, 18 January 2023 23:14 (two weeks ago) link

...enjoyed his version of I'm New Here far more than the Jamie XX

― Hmmmmm (jamiesummerz), Saturday, October 22, 2022 2:41 AM (two months ago) bookmarkflaglink

and it seemed to get totally ignored/not talked about last year?

― Hmmmmm (jamiesummerz), Saturday, October 22, 2022

I mentioned it upthread and on ballots:

... in 2020, this made several of my ballots---from blogged comments:

Gil Scott-Heron/Makaya McCraven, We're New Again: A Reimagining By Makaya McCraven---Still haven't heard the original album, or Jamie xx's reworking, but the unmistakable sound and sensibility of classic Gil come through: sharp, reflective glints in the dark, rough-edged and fluid, lyrical and realist, searching and on point, thematic and grooving---jazzwise, yet "blues is a feeling" the overall. Only thing is, some of the originals are really short, like down to 37 seconds: golden kernels of potential and realization---McCraven is def. not showboating, but I wish he extended these--maybe he was required to stick to the original track times? I'd like a bit more---Anyway, it's all good, though faves are mostly because they have longer to make an impression: "New York is Killing Me," "I'll Take Care of You," "Me and the Devil"--yes, Scott-Heron and Robert Johnson and Mr. D. riding the Greyhound, seems natural. Speaking voice is worn but clear, singing voice not that different from 1970s.

Or is it? Still nobody but him.
― dow, Wednesday, July 20, 2022

dow, Thursday, 19 January 2023 00:20 (two weeks ago) link


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