Makaya McCraven Remixes Blue Note Classics In ‘Deciphering The Message’

[Cover photo credit to Nolis Anderson]

Makaya McCraven has released Deciphering The Message, a new remix project for which the Chicago-based drummer and Producer dug through the Blue Note Records vaults to put a “modern bounce” on classics by Art Blakey, Horace Silver, and Hank Mobley, among others.

The album also features new contributions from modern Jazz artists including vibraphonist Joel Ross, trumpeter Marquis Hill, guitarists Jeff Parker and Matt Gold, bassist Junius Paul, alto saxophonist Greg Ward, and De’Sean Jones on tenor saxophone and flute. Deciphering The Message is available on vinyl, CD, and in digital formats.  

McCraven talks about the process of making the new collection:

“There’s a comradery and social aspect to the music. To me that’s inspiring and in the spirit of collaboration. There are bandleaders, but the collective of individual voices and sounds and the way they influence each other, that’s the fabric of what makes a scene.”

You can also watch Makaya discuss the story behind the album with Blue Note President Don Was on the latest episode of “First Look.”

McCraven’s previous releases include In The Moment (2015) and Universal Beings (2018). For his previous project McCraven remixed Gil Scott-Heron’s final album I’m New Here into the equally LP We’re New Again (2020).

While Deciphering The Message collects songs from several years of Blue Note history, it sets out to play like a continuous set taking place in one show at one venue.

McCraven explains:

“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. I always want to make music that will connect with people in one way, where it makes them nod or feel something or transport them somewhere. I also hope this makes them check out the source of this music. The music that we’re making now is part of the same route and is connected, so I want to honor tradition and release something that people can vibe to.”