Makaya McCraven on World Cafe

For our latest Sense of Place series, we’ve been diving into the diversity of Chicago’s music scenes and talking to some of the remarkable people working there right now.

While his music often gets the “jazz” label attached to it, McCraven’s sound is hard to pin down.

“I think of the word jazz, just having a lot of different meanings to different people,” he said. “So it’s difficult to communicate the depth of what I feel like I’m a part of. Look at the legacy of the jazz musicians that set the stage before me, like say Miles Davis, who challenged being called jazz, to Thelonious Monk and Mingus. The list can go on of people really in the long discussion we’ve had around this music. And what if I say I play jazz? What does that necessarily mean to one listener versus another listener depending on how well-versed you are in the discussion?”

McCraven talks about his unique approach to music, his roots in Chicago’s jazz scene, plus you’ll hear live performances from his debut concert at Chicago’s Symphony Center in 2020.