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Makaya McCraven talks about his latest album 'In These Times'

Makaya McCraven
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Makaya McCraven is one of the most dynamic musicians working today. His work defies genre, touching on elements of jazz, hip-hop, and electronic music to make something completely unique. He’s also a producer and composer and one of the key figures in Chicago’s bustling music scene.

His latest album "In These Times" was released in 2022 on International Anthem, Nonesuch, and XL Recordings to wide acclaim. It was seven years in the making and as a result, captures the evolution that McCraven’s career took during this time.

Makaya recently sat down with WUNC Music’s Brian Burns to chat about his latest record and what fans can expect when he performs at The Fruit in Durham on Feb. 25.

This is an excerpt of an edited transcript of that conversation. You can hear the full interview by clicking the LISTEN button at the top of this post.

I know that ‘In These Times’ is a record you worked on for quite some time. Can you tell us a bit about the journey that record took you on?

"A lot of the music on ‘In These Times’ are collections of pieces that I’ve been writing for quite some time and performing with my band. As I was writing and performing these tunes, a lot of other opportunities took me in different ways, such as the record ‘In The Moment,’ which really changed the trajectory of my career. The way my career went, I just kept dragging this project out and every time it was dragged out another cycle, something was added in and it got a little bit bigger and a little bit loftier. A lot of the tunes I wrote over the last 10 years, but some were written right before the record dropped."

We’re looking forward to the show at The Fruit in Durham on Sunday. Tell us about what people can expect.

"It’s going to be myself, Junius Paul on bass, Marquis Hill on trumpet and some electronics, and De’Sean Jones on tenor flute and ewi. I think it’ll be a pretty high energy show with this band, and I’m just excited to be playing a bit of different music out of my repertoire but also having a fun journey with these guys."

Brian Burns is the Music Director for WUNC Music, WUNC's AAA music discovery station. He has been working within the local music scene for over a decade. On the weekends you might see him DJing at various spots around the Triangle, or digging through boxes of records. He's also the host of Future Shock on WUNC Music and a contributor to NPR Music. He graduated from UNC’s School of Information and Library Science with an MSLS in 2015.
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