A Virtual 'Checkout' Star Summit with Makaya McCraven, Michael League, & more
Jazz stars aligned in mid-April when New York City was in full lockdown. The Checkout, with help from pianist Greg Spero, beamed-in some big name musicians from around the globe including Sirintip, Marquis Hill and others. Experience the best moments from that session now.
With much of the country now sadly having to adjust to the horror New York City faced in the Spring, lessons from his virtual studio session are very relevant today. The show relied heavily on the mind of Greg Spero, a Los Angeles based keyboardist and entrepreneur who briefly experimented with hosting an online show in isolation. Although Mornings with Greg!! is on hold for now, our show features the pianist performing a tricky solo rendition of his tune “Nails.” The song is featured on Spero’s new album Peace (ropeadope) with his band Spirit Fingers.
Next, drummer Makaya McCraven shows us why he’s well-equipped for quarantine. He gives us a tour of his home studio in Chicago and sheds some light on how he became an instrument collector.
In the podcast version of the show, we hear McCraven’s music — his tribute to Gil Scott Heron We’re New Again and his new single “Mak Attack” from his forthcoming Universal Beings documentary film (coming July 31). We also hear some sublime brass by Marquis Hill. Along with his soundtrack Love Tape with Voices, the trumpeter gives us some tips for self-love during these trying times.
Later in the show, vocalist Sirintip performs an atmospheric original song called “Pretend” from the album Tribus. Due to technical difficulties, we asked her to resubmit it for the podcast – which is featured here with Nolan Byrd on drums. The best way to describe the incredible feeling of this performance is like being hugged by a cloud. Sirintip is also the the co-producer of the Live From Our Living Rooms Festival going on until July 26.
Lastly, we peer into Michael League’s brain as a solo singer/songwriter, who Zooms in from Spain. Humorously, he didn’t have his electric bass in quarantine, but opted to show off his gimbri instead. It’s an ancient three-stringed pentatonic bass-like banjo from Morocco.