Beat Scientist Makaya McCraven Comes to Lawrence, Kansas

Heading this year’s Free State Festival – a film, music art and ideas festival in Lawrence, Kansas – is musician Makaya McCraven. As the New York Times has stated, “McCraven has quietly become one of the best arguments for jazz’s vitality” but the artist himself resists labels to categorize his music.

The prolific drummer, composer and producer’s latest album, In These Times, has been seven years in the making and melds improvised music with hip hop sampling techniques to create something new, complex and undeniably cinematic. When Free State Festival Director Marlo Angell saw him perform at the 2023 Big Ears Festival in Knoxville, Tennessee, she knew he would be a great fit for Lawrence. “The Free State Festival likes to push boundaries and defy conventions between genres, and Makaya McCraven is just the kind of forward-looking artist we love to celebrate” says Angell.

McCraven’s performance on June 26 at Liberty Hall will be preceded by opening remarks from the Executive Director of the American Jazz Museum, Dr. Dina Bennett McCraven. The Free State Festival is produced by the Lawrence Arts Center and takes place in venues across Lawrence June 25-40. Please see freestatefestival.org for details on tickets, passes, and a full schedule of events.

KC Studio

KC Studio covers the performing, visual, cinematic and literary arts, and the artists, organizations and patrons that make Kansas City a vibrant center for arts and culture.

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