Drummer, producer, composer, and multi-instrumentalist Makaya McCraven has been impressing audiences for nearly two decades. His explosive drumming blends world rhythms and jazz traditions with a hip hop and rock attitude. At 25 years old, he has toured internationally, earned three Downbeat jazz awards, and performed with such jazz legends as Archie Schepp, Yusef Lateef, Charles Neville, and Billy Taylor. Makaya has also shared the stage with hip hop greats Wutang Clan, Digable Planets, The Pharcyde, Mixmaster Mike, 50 Cent, and Rhazel. Destined to be a musician before his birth, (born to renowned jazz drummer Stephen McCraven and Hungarian folk singer Agnes Zsigmondi) Makaya brings fresh life to music, merging old traditions with new sounds.
Currently, Makaya resides in Chicago and performs with numerous groups in the city and on tour. Within two years in Chicago, Makaya has played with some of the city’s most respected jazz musicians including Bobby Broom (Sonny Rollins), Bobby (Baabe) Irving (Miles Davis), Corey Wilkes, Henry Johnson, and Ari Brown. He has performed at Chicago’s finest venues and festivals, including Millennium Park’s Pritzker Pavilion, the Taste of Chicago, the Chicago Jazz Festival, the Greenmill, the Jazz Showcase, and the Velvet Lounge.
Now working on his debut album with the Arts and Music Factory, this young drummer excels in studio work as well as live performance. Makaya has contributed to a number of recordings with artists representing a spectrum of styles, including Apollo Sunshine’s “Shall Noise Upon,” (Headless Heroes), Kris Delmhorst’s “Shotgun Singer,” (Signature Sounds), and Mathias Ockert’s “Survey,” (Simmer Music).
Makaya’s contributions to the Arts and Music Factory have been equally varied in genre and central to the artistic growth of the organization. As the Arts and Music Factory Musical Director, Makaya is directly involved in coordinating every project coming through the studio, and has played drums on a variety of recordings including the albums of Cold Duck Complex, the Jeff D’Antona Trio, Geoff Vidal, Sandy Bailey, and Anna Zlotsovskaya.
It is Makaya’s dynamic drumming and creative zeal that make him the preferred collaborator for a wide range of artists. He is a true improviser who works seamlessly with a folk singer songwriter, an avant guarde violinist, a hip hop collective, or a jazz trio. Makaya is in constant creative motion, and his musicianship has profound impact on fellow artists and audiences alike.