Makaya McCraven announces Universal Beings companion album

Chicago jazz drummer Makaya McCraven has announced a forthcoming companion album to his critically acclaimed 2018 record Universal Beings.

The new album is titled Universal Beings E&F Sides and will be released July 31 by International Anthem, with physical editions coming Sept. 25. It features 14 new pieces of music that were cut from the original recording sessions that took place in New York, Chicago, London and Los Angeles.

The album functions as the soundtrack to a 26-minute documentary about the making of Universal Beings. That short film also arrives July 31.

Directed by Mark Pallman, the documentary follows McCraven to those four cities and offers a behind-the-scenes look at the experience, the creative process and the community of musicians that brought his breakthrough album to life.

Universal Beings was highly regarded upon its release and was listed among the best albums of 2018 by The New York Times, Rolling Stone, NPR, Stereogum, Billboard, SPIN and The Wall Street Journal.

The record features a large cast of some of the hottest “new” jazz players from the four cities where it was recorded, including Brandee Younger, Tomeka Reid, Dezron Douglas, Joel Ross, Shabaka Hutchings, Junius Paul, Nubya Garcia, Daniel Casimir, Ashley Henry, Josh Johnson, Jeff Parker, Anna Butters, Carlos Niño and Miguel-Atwood Ferguson. All of those musicians also feature on Universal Beings E&F Sides.

The new album’s first single, Mak Attack, is out now.

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