Don’t look now, but there may be a jazz insurgency afoot as artists like Makaya McCraven — touring in support of 2022’s excellent In These Times — seek to goose the genre back into relevance. A drummer, bandleader and self-described “beat scientist,” McCraven co-headlines with Louis Cole Big Band Thursday, Oct. 20 at WOW Hall. Cole comes to Eugene in support of his own 2022 release Quality Over Opinion.
Where Louis Cole leans into avant-garde funk with elements of modern hip hop and a strong vocal presence, McCraven in some sense harkens back to the last great mainstream generation of jazz innovators from the 1970s like Herbie Hancock, Stanley Clarke and Miles Davis. In that period those artists fused elements of jazz with rock music, and McCraven does the same, this time with the cut ‘n’ paste sensibilities of modern electronic music underneath traditional jazz instrumentation. There are horns, eclectic string arrangements and McRaven’s precise percussion, with memorable melodies on songs like the quintuple-time “High Fives.”
Tellingly, McCraven and Cole perform at WOW Hall — perhaps not typically thought of as a jazz venue. But hey, Dave Brubeck took jazz to college, and now McRaven brings jazz to the rock club.
Soul’d Out presents Louis Cole Big Band and Makaya McCraven 8 pm Thursday, Oct. 20 at WOW Hall; $25 advance, $30 door, all-ages.