Makaya McCraven – Split Decision
“The music on ‘Split Decision’ (the debut album led by drummer Makaya McCraven) shimmers with pop energy while retaining a resilient jazz core – a fresh take on the age-old piano trio, catapulted by McCraven’s propulsive percussion into an orbit that few first-time groups ever achieve. Other trios have attempted to fuse jazz roots with contemporary sounds, but McCraven has managed to do so in a way that should fully please listeners of both camps… McCraven’s trio album sounds as if it had worked together for years… It has that organic, lived-in quality that marks the most experienced bands – a platform that allows each musician to take chances knowing that the others will (or catch him if he starts to fall). This kind of mutual trust doesn’t come easily, and sometimes not at all; here it underlines every track…”
– Neil Tesser (from the liner notes)
Born in Paris October 19th 1983, to drummer Stephen McCraven and Hungarian folk singer Agnes Zsigmondi, Makaya McCraven has internationally toured, performed and recorded with jazz greats such as Bobby Broom, Archie Shepp and Charles Neville. In high school, Makaya was co-founder of the band Cold Duck Complex. They released 3 records and toured throughout the Northeast, opening for major national acts and gaining a loyal fan base. Cold Duck Complex became a campus favorite at the the University of Massachusetts, Amherst where they opened for 50 Cent, Rhazel and Reel Big Fish. As a music major at the University, Makaya played in the University Jazz Orchestra and earned 3 Downbeat student awards.
Currently Makaya resides in Chicago and has cracked the upper echelon of the music scene. He has performed at some of Chicago’s finest venues and festivals, including Millennium Park’s Pritzker Pavilion, the Taste of Chicago, the Chicago Jazz Festival, the Green Mill, Andy’s, the Jazz Showcase, and the Velvet Lounge. Rooted in Chicago, Makaya travels between the Midwest and East Coast. He is the Musical Director of the Pushkin, an arts collective in Greenfield, Massachusetts where he is known for throwing cultural events and recording albums with a variety of musicians.
Makaya has contributed to a number of recordings with artists representing a spectrum of styles: Apollo Sunshine’s “Shall Noise Upon,” (Headless Heroes); Kris Delmhort’s “Shotgun Singer,” (Signature Sounds); Grammy nominated Seth Glier’s “The Next Right Thing”, and others. Makaya’s background, coupled with his love for real hip hop, rock, and any other forward-thinking music that comes his way, makes for a dynamic instrumental fusion that is undeniable to the listener. Makaya is a true improviser who, with each performance, creates a new live music experience.