June 24, 2024


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CD review: Makaya Mccraven – Universal Beings E&F Sides 2020: Videos, CD cover, Sound

Makaya McCraven calls himself a beat scientist, so it’s no surprise when you ask about his childhood, you hear he was pretty much surrounded by rhythm.

“Rehearsals at our house, banging on drums since I was able to hold a drumstick, sleeping in my dad’s bass drum,” he recalls. “There was no front head, and a little pillow in there. And you could just kinda go in and lay down if you’re small enough.”

Birds were singing on his mom’s porch in the woods of Western Massachusetts when he connected for the interview. McCraven grew up there and also all over, living an international life. He was born in Paris to two artists: his dad, an American drummer, and his mom, a Hungarian singer. Giants of jazz were household names.

“Archie Shepp, Marion Brown, being around guys like Yusef Lateef,” he remembers. “So those are my memories: being at gigs, being at concerts, backstage at a venue, smoky places, stowed away. My kids get similar [experiences] these days.”

Makaya McCraven: The Brain Behind The Mind-Bending Beats
Makaya McCraven: The Brain Behind The Mind-Bending Beats
In 2018, Makaya McCraven released Universal Beings, a widely acclaimed double album. Now, a new documentary of the same name shows how he made it and he’s gone back through the old material from that record to put out another album: Universal Beings E&F Sides.

Chicago drummer, producer, and all-around musical genius Makaya McCraven has been widely heralded as one of the leading lights in jazz today. Universal Beings, the 2018 album that cemented that reputation, is the subject of a new mini-documentary out today, and McCraven has shared a companion album of leftover material from the same sessions.

McCraven pieced together Universal Beings from recordings of four separate live shows around the globe featuring completely different sets of collaborators. Director Mark Pallman’s film features footage from those gigs — in LA, Chicago, New York, and London — as well as interviews and studio scenes. The soundtrack for the movie doubles as a new companion album called Universal Beings E&F Sides, which is out today digitally ahead of its physical release in September.


01. Everybody Cool – 04:36
02. Half Steppin’ – 03:40
03. Mak Attack – 02:09
04. The Hunt – 02:29
05. Beat Science – 03:55
06. Dadada – 02:06
07. Isms – 03:15
08. Traveling Space – 01:27
09. Kings and Queens – 04:40
10. The Loneliness – 03:22
11. Her Name – 03:13
12. Universal Beings Pt. 2 – 02:07
13. Butterss Fly – 03:19
14. The Way Home – 02:59

Makaya McCraven | Universal Beings E&F Sides - Tinnitist

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