Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Makaya McCraven: Highly Rare (International Anthem)

Review of funky recent album from drummer

JazzTimes may earn a small commission if you buy something using one of the retail links in our articles. JazzTimes does not accept money for any editorial recommendations. Read more about our policy here. Thanks for supporting JazzTimes.
Cover of Makaya McCraven album Highly Rare
Cover of Makaya McCraven album Highly Rare

Highly Rare has something that really is highly rare: danger. It’s in the cassette-tape fidelity, like an old-school audience bootleg, that second-guesses even the digital gatekeepers (and, ironically, enhances the immediacy). It’s in the starkness of drummer Makaya McCraven’s chordless quartet and aggressive attack. Above all, it’s in McCraven’s continuing, brilliant redefinition of live jazz albums.

As on his 2015 breakthrough, In the Moment, McCraven heavily edits recordings of his band’s “spontaneous compositions” (from a November 2016 set) and carefully reassembles them as collages of beats, loops and fragments. McCraven’s group also features cornetist/diddley-bowist Ben Lamar Gay, alto saxophonist Nick Mazzarella and bassist Junius Paul. Where In the Moment used Fender Rhodes and vibraphone to create lushness, even dreaminess, this one’s lean and funky.

Start Your Free Trial to Continue Reading

Become a JazzTimes member to explore our complete archive of interviews, profiles, columns, and reviews written by music's best journalists and critics.
Originally Published