In These Times

Makaya McCraven In These Times

(International Anthem / Nonesuch)

By Jay Boucher

After seeing McCraven and his various ensembles perform live twice this year—once in Cambridge, Massachusetts at The Sinclair and another a few months later at the 2022 Montreal Jazz Festival, I feel connected and more and more familiar with his amazing body of convoluted, yet satisfying works of audible art. Each time I hear In These Times, I picture him behind the drum kit, working hard to build each beat, each repetition, creating unique sounds and rhythms, and concentrating while sweating on his snare and lap—but he sets the tone and the other musicians, all super-talented in their own right, try to keep up with his changes, but sometimes McCraven is on his own percussion planet.


McCraven is a master percussionist—he’s probably my favorite musician right now and he’s one artist you need to see live. It took him almost seven years to record this album with various sessions in various locations. From the result, it seems the time was worth it.


Other players include guitarist Jeff Parker, Brandee Younger on harp, Junius Paul on bass, with Joel Ross on vibraphone, Marta Sofia Honer on viola, Greg Ward on the alto sax, Marquis Hill on trumpet, De’Sean Jones on flute, Matt Gold on rhythm guitar, Irvin Pierce on tenor sax, and Rob Clearfield on the piano.


Top tracks: This Place That Place, High Fives, Lullaby, In These Times, The Title

Watch Makaya McCraven perform ‘Dream Another’ from his newest release, In These Times.

Filmed & Recorded September 19th, 2022 at Public Records, Brooklyn, New York.