'Universal Beings' Makes Big Strides

Makaya McCraven's Universal Beings Thursday November 29th @ South Shore Cultural Center, Chicago & Sunday December 2nd @ Le Poisson Rouge, New York To close off an insane Fall campaign – which launched with the October 26th release of Universal Beings, debuting at #1 on Billboard's contemporary jazz charts, massive shows at Berlin's Prince Charles, Paris's legendary New Morning, Paradiso in Amsterdam, a dozen more European cities, and a sold out 1200 person co-headliner with Nubya Garcia at EartH in London – Makaya McCraven will play two very special shows in Chicago (this Thursday) and New York City (this Sunday) to celebrate his new work with an all-star international cast of musicians from the album's sessions. The band will feature large ensemble arrangements by Miguel Atwood-Ferguson (who will also play violin) – and feature Dezron Douglas (bass), Nubya Garcia (tenor sax), Josh Johnson (alto sax), Carlos Niño (percussion), Jeff Parker (guitar), Junius Paul(bass), Joel Ross (vibraphone), Brandee Younger (harp), and Shabaka Hutchings (sax, for the New York performance only).

Both of these shows come to us via Red Bull Music - the Chicago performance takes place this Thursday November 29th in the Paul Robeson Theatre of the South Shore Cultural Center, as part of the first ever Red Bull Music Chicago Festival, and will feature an opening DJ set by Ayana Contreras. and the New York performance takes place this Sunday December 2nd at Le Poisson Rouge in Greenwich Village, Downtown Manhattan, and will feature an opening hardware set by Malik Abdul Rahmaan. Tickets & Info for the Chicago performance here. Tickets & Info for the New York performance here.

~ SELECTED PRESS ~ Over the last 2 months, the flow of media, press, and journalistic support for Makaya & Universal Beings has been a blessing, to say the least. Here are a few choice excerpts:

"To call drummer Makaya McCraven a multitasker would be an understatement."

Madison Bloom for Pitchfork

"The kind of thing crate-digging DJs and producers will flock to."

Piotr Orlov for AFROPUNK

"A distinctly 21st century mode of brainy beat music."

Natalie Weiner for Rolling Stone

"Makaya McCraven's utopian vision of jazz could change the world."

Colin Joyce for Noisey

“Mr. McCraven, a Chicago-based drummer, producer and beat maker, has quietly become one of the best arguments for jazz’s vitality.” – The New York Times, December 2017 Paris-born, New England-raised, long-time Chicago-residing Makaya McCraven has been at the forefront of genre-redefining movements in jazz since 2015, when he introduced the world to his unique brand of ‘organic beat music’ on the breakout album In The Moment. Culled, cut, post-produced & re-composed by Makaya using recordings of free improvisation he collected over dozens of live sessions in Chicago, through incubation & experimentation In The Moment established a procedural blueprint that he has since been sharpening & developing. Honing this process on narrower sets of source material, Makaya followed up In The Moment with 2 mixtape releases – 2017’s Highly Rare, a lo-fi free-jazz-meets-hip-hop suite he made from a live 4-track recording, and June 2018’s Where We Come From (CHICAGOxLONDON Mixtape), which he produced using live recordings from London jazz hub Total Refreshment Centre (captured at a showcase called CHICAGOxLONDON). Now, after 4+ years of refining his approach, Makaya McCraven puts forth an ambitious new work – Universal Beings – a culmination of concepts conceived by In The Moment, and his most elegant & articulated work yet. Spurred by a desire to connect with old friends & new collaborators in places where similar spirits & diasporic jazz innovations are thriving, Makaya worked with International Anthem across late 2017 & early 2018 to setup intimate live sessions in New York & Chicago, and pop-up “studio” sessions in London & Los Angeles. Though the contexts and logistics were D.I.Y. (as they almost always are with IARC), the friends & friends-of-friends that Makaya was able to enlist are top tier players across the board. Some might call them super groups of “new” jazz musicians from their respective cities, with Makaya as a common denominator. But more importantly, collectively they make an inspiring display of the organic global inter-connectedness of the Black American music tradition in 2018. Physically spanning national & international borders to create an album that musically spans deep spiritual jazz meditations, pulsing post-bop grooves & straight-ahead boom-bap, Makaya McCraven defies the simplifications of revisionism & regionalism while celebrating the sounds, settings & stories that define the provenance of his work. Universal Beings projects an all-encompassing message of unity, peace & power by embracing transcendence in all its expressions.

Listen and/or Purchase Universal Beings 2xLP or 2xCD

Watch Universal Beings Trailer

A short trailer video directed by Mark Pallman which previews a documentary short film about the making of Universal Beings (in process and due for completion soon, stay tuned).

The first vinyl pressing unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you slice it) sold out before the release date! However, the second (and third) pressings are under way, so the next vinyl run of Universal Beings is now available for preorder - and will be ready to ship out by mid-December. Featuring gorgeous cover art by Damon Locks - the deluxe Universal Beings LP package includes two vinyl discs in a heavyweight reverse-board *gatefold jacket* with flooded black inside pockets. Package also includes a 4-page insert booklet, IARC obi strip & dome patterned inner sleeves.

Order your copy from the International Anthem webstore today.

"This album (and all of our catalogue) is distributed by RedEye Worldwide and their various International territory partners. If you are a record store, retailer or distributor interested in purchasing copies, please direct your wholesale inquiries to:

Will Savery - will@redeyeworldwide"

Thank you, Redeye!

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