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Makaya McCraven "In These Times" 

MOJO - The 50 Best Albums Of 2022 - #19

“Another of International Anthem’s Chicago stable of virtuoso insurgents, drummer and bandleader McCraven was first sighted outside jazz circles with his 2020 album-length remix of Gil Scott-Heron. In These Times, though, was McCraven’s boldest statement yet, a sumptuous chamber jazz suite powered by his jittery beats and well-connected community activism. One to file alongside David Axelrod’s scores or, more recently, Kamasi Washington’s similarly ambitious epics.”


Uncut - Uncut’s Best New Albums Of 2022 - #44

“Though renowned as an inventive jazz drummer, McCraven is also a talented composer, arranger and programmer. Those skills came to the fore on his sixth album, recorded piecemeal over the course of seven years with a cast of Chicago luminaries but always sounding like a unified work: the lush, sweeping visions of Charles Stepney or David Axelrod allied to the addictive lollop of J Dilla’s beats.”


  • FADER included In These Times in their “50 Best Albums of 2022” at # 48 saying:

    • “Even amidst a contemporary revival that has reemphasized Jazz’s groove and status as Black music, In These Times is a singular achievement, one proving that McCraven’s dialog between past and present is a fruitful one, and that he has much more left to say”


  • NPR published their overall list (Makaya’s album was already mentioned on Nate Chinen and Sheldon Pearce’s year-end lists) and included In These Times at # 7 on their “50 Best Albums of 2022” saying:

    • In These Times is the album that Makaya McCraven has been wanting to make his whole life: a sonic sock-it-to-me cake that folds in his beatmaking, clever compositions, Hungarian lineage (from his folk singer mother) and free-jazz roots (from his drummer father) alongside symphonic and heavy funk. The scale of the work alone is breathtaking, yet intentionally inclusive. A slice of this album makes the case that today's jazz greats deserve to be included on everybody's plate. —Ayana Contreras, Vocalo


  • Glide Magazine included In These Times in their Best Jazz Albums of 2022 round-up saying:

    • It’s often been said that the best players can be quickly identified in just a few notes or beats. Makaya is one of them. He has a singular, readily identifiable style.


  • Aquarium Drunkard mentioned In Theses Times in their annual Year In Review saying:

    • The jazz percussionist’s most accomplished work to date, In These Times almost feels like a cathartic soundtrack to the downs of everyday life. Recalling the comforting soundscapes of the likes of Dortohy Ashby, the instrumental suite features a remarkable cast of collaborators including Jeff Parker, harpist Brandee Younger and Blue Note’s Joel Ross on vibraphone/marimba. Handling a multitude of instruments himself, In These Times has proven McCraven a masterful composer of modern jazz and beyond.

Pino Palladino & Blake Mills "Notes With Attachments"


"their willingness to shift directions mid-song doesn’t feel like the work of ADHD minds — that some songs seem like stitched together fragments doesn’t feel haphazard, but more a cosmic patchwork of segments that shouldn’t work together, but that Palladino and Mills have found ways to actually fit together — and make it seem totally effortless." Holly Hazelwood


"The album certainly leaves you with a sense of dislocation and déjà vu, as if hearing musical avenues open, meander deliciously, then abruptly slam shut. It’s disorientating, surprising, at times deeply funky, and often very beautiful." Tim Clarke


“​​Midnight Crisp shows that Takuya Kuroda is a master of knowing what parts to work with and how to assemble them properly. It's a future classic.” Pop Matters 


“Kuroda once again leverages his mastery of sampling, loop and hip-hop beat assembling to form contemporary jazz with present-day sensibilities.” Something Else


“On 'Midnight Crisp' trumpeter Takuya Kuroda truly delivers excellent modern jazz fusion that doesn’t shy away from combining jazz and hip-hop in all its forms and guises.” Living Life Fearless


 “Midnight Crisp. Like a soundtrack that switches between scenes of strutting, sensuality, and solitude” KUTX

Takuya Kuroda "Midnight Crisp"

The Heat Inc, "Asleep In The Ejector Seat"


“Gruesome garage Rock with an urbane edge. The Heat Inc. attack their promising debut album just as they would a steaming basement club. A charged miasma of swap Rock, Gothic, Glam and grisly Garage Punk, it hurls itself at the midpoint between Sisters of Mercy and the Stooges. That’s partly down to the infectious melodicism lurking beneath the grime of tracks like Get Wild and This Thing Called Love which seems to burst out of the swamp with a prehistoric monster’s bite. Turn up the Heat”  - Mark Beaumont CLASSIC ROCK 

“ALBUM OF THE WEEK”,  “Believe me, this band are going to be massive. I’ve seen it happen with Kings Of Leon in the early days and other bands like The National. They have that early Doors potential which is the magic potion for a rock band to break through the doors in a commercial way that will have the sheep generation holding their lighters / mobile phones in the air for years to come. Not a diss from the AF but a pre warning that you’ll see this lot in the arenas very shortly…”  - Louder Than War

“The whole band meld together to create a stunning piece of modern rock. The album, which comes out on limited edition coloured vinyl, boasts 10 tracks that will leave you in no doubt that all the recent rave reviews about the band’s live performances and media attention are not just hype. This band really are the dog’s wotsits. I urge you to seek out this album and PLAY IT LOUD” The Heat Inc. - Asleep In The Ejector Seat - PETE'S ROCK NEWS AND VIEWS

- "The finest UK Rock album I heard this year" SAFETY PIN MAGAZINE

 “Souvenir” comes on like a combination of raucous energy and Cult-like flavors, and if highlights are wherever you look, then they don’t get better than “Draw Blood For Proof,” a more punky attack, but so incredibly catchy it actually seems to embed itself in your consciousness. There seems to be darkness in these songs; “Little Knuckle Charlie” belongs in a sweaty club about 3 am, while the bass of Nicholas Rigot makes “98” what it is. The Strokes went gold on less, let’s be honest. And there’s something of the turn of the 00s into the 2010s about this too. You can imagine Gaslight Anthem doing this, if they’d grown up in the London Streets instead of the swamps of Jersey (as every Springsteen song calls them). Indeed, it’s tempting to think of these as disparate songs, such are the disparate threads here; “This Thing Called Love” finds some dark desperation, and it sounds totally different from the rest, save for the wonderful, rich vocals of Jon Dodd. “Akaska Murder Squad” is typical of their untypical approach to the lyrical content. “Get Wild” might sound like the title of an unreleased Poison song from 1986, but the groove alone is a million miles away. It also contains the title of the record.

“Ms. Willie Mae” is another turn and contains the mighty thought, “whoever heard of an alibi so ironclad it could have killed,” and there’s a kind of dark poetry throughout. “Be my 7th sin,” they sing on “Samson”; let’s be honest, there’s more than that, and they know it. The thing lurks, almost promising violence. The contrary nature of the record is never better shown than the closing “ultra-violence” is a ballad. “Kubrick’s on the Television,” they sing. And like his films, there’s something unsettling here too, not quite right.

Many of the tones on the record come from the quite magnificent guitar work of Marco Simoncelli, and speaking of Instagram as we did at the start, he messaged the site on the platform the other day to make sure we’d been sent a copy. His only listening instructions? “Play loud.” Andy Thorley, MAXIMUM VOLUME MUSIC 

Mark Whitfield 


Solo record with "Soul Conversation" coming 2025



Solo record coming 2025

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