Score: 4 out of 5 Grackles

Makaya McCraven “Deciphering the Message”


Makaya McCraven “Deciphering the Message”

Record Label: Blue Note

Release Date: November 19, 2021

Crate digging in the Blue Note vaults is nothing new. For decades, DJ’s have been reshaping the recordings of Herbie Hancock, Art Blakey, Horace Silver and others, overlaying dance beats and raps to pull in a whole new audience. Yet drummer/producer McCraven, who mostly samples (and re-samples) his own minimalist, hip rhythm tracks, has something else in mind. McCraven dissects 60’s BN gems, both well-known and obscure, with the fervor of a WWII codebreaker. Less concerned with dance beats, McCraven and his collaborators (Jeff Parker on guitar, Marquis Hill on trumpet, longtime associate Junius Paul on bass) are more intent on an immersive experience. Fuzzy and amorphous, genres, generations, machines, masters and new kids all intertwine. Utilizing his mastery of the studio, McCraven applies a mysterious technique that gives nothing away, yet brings all this remarkable music into the light.

-Jeff McCord