Makaya McCraven

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Makaya McCraven
McCraven in 2013
McCraven in 2013
Background information
Born (1983-10-19) October 19, 1983 (age 39)
Genresjazz, rap, pop rock
Years active2007–present
Labels Edit this at Wikidata

Makaya McCraven (born October 19, 1983) is an American jazz drummer and bandleader.[1][2]

Life and career[edit]

McCraven was born in Paris, France, to jazz drummer Stephen McCraven [fr] and Hungarian singer Ágnes Zsigmondi (of the band Kolinda [fr]), and from the age of three was raised in and around Amherst and Northampton, Massachusetts.[1][2] At the age of five he played in his father's drum ensemble, the CMSS Bashers, along with some of his father's students. In middle school, he and friends formed a band to accompany his mother's folk singing. In high school, McCraven formed the jazz-hip hop Cold Duck Complex. He studied music at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, becoming part of the university's jazz orchestra and receiving various DownBeat student awards, but did not graduate.[3]

In 2007 McCraven moved to Chicago, where he performed in the bands of Bobby Broom, Corey Wilkes [de], Willie Pickens, and with the Occidental Brothers, Marquis Hill, and Jeff Parker.[3] He also worked as a studio musician for Apollo Sunshine and Kris Delmhorst. In 2012 he released his debut album, Split Decision, through Chicago Sessions, leading a trio.[4] In the following years he appeared weekly with other musicians, from which he developed concepts for his 2015 album, In the Moment.[citation needed] He also performed with Kamasi Washington. In 2016 he toured mostly in Europe. After several mix tapes, in 2018 he released the double album Universal Beings, on which he was joined by musicians from New York City, London, and Los Angeles; the album was nominated for the Jazz Journalists Association Awards in 2019.[citation needed] In DownBeat's 2020 Critics Poll, he was the winner in the "Rising Star" categories of best producer and best drummer of the year.[5] In September, 2022, McCraven released In These Times, a full-length album that had been in development since 2015, through International Anthem.[6]

McCraven is married to Nitasha Tamar Sharma, a professor of African-American and Asian-American Studies at Northwestern University as of 2018.[1][2]



  1. ^ a b c d Russonello, Giovanni (November 30, 2018). "Makaya McCraven Sees the Future of Jazz Through Layers of History". The New York Times. Retrieved June 25, 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d Weiner, Natalie (October 25, 2018). "Makaya McCraven Isn't Interested in Saving Jazz". Rolling Stone. Retrieved June 25, 2019.
  3. ^ a b c d e "About Makaya McCraven". Makaya McCraven. Retrieved 2022-12-27.
  4. ^ Bilawski, Dan (October 31, 2012). "Makaya McCraven: Split Decision". All About Jazz. Retrieved 2020-10-31.
  5. ^ "Terri Lyne Carrington Tops 2020 DownBeat Critics Poll". 2020-07-06. Retrieved 2023-01-05.
  6. ^ "Makaya McCraven: In These Times". HUMP DAY NEWS. Retrieved 2022-11-14.
  7. ^ "GMG (Greg Spero, Makaya McCraven, Graham Czach), 2008, by Greg Spero". Greg Spero. Retrieved 2021-03-06.
  8. ^ "Split Decision, by Makaya McCraven". Makaya McCraven. Retrieved 2021-03-06.
  9. ^ "In the Moment Deluxe Edition, by Makaya McCraven". International Anthem. Retrieved 2021-03-06.
  10. ^ "Makaya McCraven - Where We Come From (CHICAGOxLONDON Mixtape), by Makaya McCraven". Total Refreshment Records. Retrieved 2021-03-06.
  11. ^ "Moving Cities, by Antoine Berjeaut, Makaya McCraven". I See Colors. Retrieved 2021-03-06.
  12. ^ Sawatzki, Frank (July 2, 2020). "Gil Scott-Heron: We're New Again - A Reimagining by Makaya McCraven". Musikexpress. Retrieved 2020-10-31.
  13. ^ "Universal Beings, by Makaya McCraven". Retrieved 2021-03-06.
  14. ^ "Makaya McCraven Announces New Album, Shares New Song "Seventh String"". Pitchfork. 2022-06-21. Retrieved 2022-06-21.

External links[edit]