A meticulous but mystical alchemy is at work in the jazz of self-described “beat scientist” Makaya McCraven. On his 2018 double album, Universal Beings, the Chicago drummer/producer captures the hypnotic feeling of daydreaming with rhythms that run wild like uncensored trains of thought and settle into contemplative grooves, only to take off again without warning. You never know what to expect, and that’s what’s so exciting about McCraven’s music—that there are endless possibilities for what could happen next. His approach is warm, joyful, vibrant, and complex, especially on the harp-forward “Young Genius” and the anxious trill of “Tall Tales.” McCraven’s late-night set at the Jack London promises to be a transformative experience.
by Ciara Dolan
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