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Makaya McCraven

Deciphering The Message

Blue Note

Limited LP

Released: 19th Nov 2021



Released: 19th Nov 2021


As if Mccraven’s credentials were ever in any doubt, he’s gone and instilled himself in our hearts yet again with this hip rendering of chunky beats over classic jazz instrumentals - somehow making tracks of indubitable cool that bit more badass.

Across numerous albums and mixtapes, Makaya McCraven has proven his mastery of the loop akin to hip-hop’s most celebrated beatmakers like J Dilla and Madlib. With his new remix album, Deciphering The Message, the Chicago-based drummer and producer digs through the Blue Note Records vaults to put a modern bounce on classics by Art Blakey, Horace Silver, Hank Mobley, Dexter Gordon, Kenny Burrell, and Eddie Gale, among others. While Deciphering The Message collects songs from several years of Blue Note history, it plays like a continuous set taking place in one show at one venue. “Pee Wee” Marquette, Birdland Jazz Club’s master of ceremonies from 1949 to 1965, narrates this album, and his inclusion places the LP somewhere on the timeline between jazz music’s transition from bebop to hard bop. “When piecing everything together, I wanted to create a narrative that made the listener feel like they were falling into this space or a movement,” McCraven says. “I was really trying to make a record out of it, not just a series of tracks.” McCraven has always been a collaborative artist who prefers the energy of in-person sessions over the isolation of creating alone. That’s no different here: Deciphering The Message features new recorded elements from vibraphonist Joel Ross, trumpeter Marquis Hill, alto saxophonist Greg Ward, guitarists Matt Gold and Jeff Parker, bassist Junius Paul, and De’Sean Jones on tenor saxophone and flute. In that way, Deciphering The Message connects the past and present, proving that musicians become legends by trekking the same roads with like-minded creators all moving toward the same goal.

Deciphering The Message


  1. A Slice Of The Top
  2. Sunset
  3. When Your Lover Has Gone
  4. Ecaroh
  5. Tranquility
  6. Wail Bait
  7. Coppin’ The Haven
  8. Frank’s Tune
  9. Autumn In New York
  10. Monaco
  11. Mr. Jin
  12. C.F.D.
  13. Black Rhythm Happening