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Makaya McCraven: In the Moment

One of the year’s most mesmerizing releases, there’s a great deal happening on drummer Makaya McCraven’s In the Moment. Its 19 tracks come from his residency at the Chicago club the Bedford. All but three of them are under five minutes long (nine are under three minutes), and all but one are heavily edited with loops and overdubs, generally resulting in layers of modal vamping.

But not static vamping: McCraven, vibraphonist Justin “Justefan” Thomas and one of three bassists (Matt Ulery, Junius Paul and Joshua Abrams) develop melodic shapes; recycle them, sometimes with variations; and move on to a new one. (Sometimes these shapes are shapeless, as in the drones of “Quartz.”) This is even true of the one unedited track, “First Thing First,” in which tempos and moods shift but bring in steady repetitions. Though he can and does swing hard, McCraven tends toward hip-hop grooves-appropriate, since his techniques emulate turntablism. On “Lonely,” trumpeter Marquis Hill and guitarist Jeff Parker resemble a rap refrain, and the album’s loops feature audience chatter that can (as in “Just Stay Right There”) take on the cadences of an MC.

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