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Eastside Radio’s Album of the Week: Dec 6 – Dec 13

Eastside Radio’s Album of the Week is Universal Beings by Makaya McCraven on the International Anthem Recording Company label.

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. 

Artist: Makaya McCraven

Title: Universal Beings

1.A Queen’s Intro

2.Holy Lands (feat. Brandee Younger)

3.Young Genius (feat. Joel Ross)

4.Black Lion (feat. Dezron Douglas)

5.Tall Tales (feat. Tomeka Reid)


7.Pharaoh’s Intro

8.Atlantic Black

9.Inner Flight

10.Wise Man, Wiser Woman (feaat. Shabaka Hutchings)

11.Prosperity’s Fear (feat. Junius Paul)

12.Flipped OUT

13.Voila (feat. Daniel Casimir)

14.Suite Haus (feat. Nubya Garcia)

15.The Newbies Lift Off (feat. Ashley Henry)

16.The Royal Outro

17.The Count Off (feat. Carlos Niño)

18.Butterss’s (feat. Anna Butterss)

19.Turtle Tricks (feat. Jeff Parker)

20.The Fifth Monk

21.Brighter Days Beginning (feat. Josh Johnson)

22.Universal Beings (feat. Miguel Atwood-Ferguson)


Tracks 1-6 (New York Side) recorded live @ H0L0,

Ridgewood, Queens, NY, August 29th, 2017.

Brandee Younger (harp)

Joel Ross (vibraphone)

Tomeka Reid (cello)

Dezron Douglas (double bass)

Makaya McCraven (drums)

Tracks 7-11 (Chicago Side) recorded live @ Co-Prosperity Sphere,

Bridgeport, Chicago, IL, September 2nd, 2017.

*Shabaka Hutchings (tenor saxophone)

Tomeka Reid (cello)

Junius Paul (double bass)

Makaya McCraven (drums)

Tracks 12-16 (London Side) recorded @ Total Refreshment Studios,

Stoke Newington, London, UK, October 19th, 2017.

Nubya Garcia (tenor saxophone)

**Ashley Henry (Rhodes piano)

Daniel Casimir (double bass)

Makaya McCraven (drums)

Tracks 17-22 (Los Angeles Side) recorded @ Jeff Parker’s house,

Altadena, Los Angeles County, CA, January 30th, 2018.

Josh Johnson (alto saxophone)

Miguel Atwood-Ferguson (violin)

Jeff Parker (guitar)

Anna Butterss (double bass)

Carlos Niño (percussion)

Makaya McCraven (drums)

*Shabaka Hutchings appears courtesy of Verve Label Group

**Ashley Henry appears courtesy of Sony Music Entertainment UK Limited

Recorded & Mixed by David Allen & Dave Vettraino

Artwork by Damon Locks

Insert Portrait by Fabrice Bourgelle

Insert Design by Craig Hansen

Produced by Makaya McCraven

Executive Production by Scott McNiece

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