Max Kraus

Bassist, Composer, Arranger, Bandleader


Bassist Max Kraus has performed in venues from Carnegie Hall and the Kimmel Center (Philadelphia, PA) to Bimhuis in Amsterdam, Capitol Recording Studios and the LA Opera. He has appeared with renowned jazz artists such as Bill Holman, Tim Warfield Jr., Roy McCurdy, Bobby Watson, Bob Mintzer,  Ben van Gelder, and Joanna Pascale, as well as the Cuban music group Conjunto Philadelphia, star of Broadway’s Jersey Boys Joseph Leo Bwarie, and internationally acclaimed baritone Rod Gilfry. As a musician who is well-versed in the Jazz tradition and various other styles of music, Kraus has the ability to contribute supportive and lyrical bass playing to a wide range of musical situations.

As a composer, Kraus released a debut album entitled Singularity in 2014 with seven of his original compositions that were written with a heavy influence from the music of Wayne Shorter. The album was featured on Philadelphia’s jazz radio station WRTI for months after the release and Kraus was also invited on air to give an interview about the music. Since that project he has contributed compositions to the LAHO Group, who toured with saxophonist Ben van Gelder across the Netherlands (including a broadcast on Bimhuis Radio), and Pierre Charles III’s 2017 album Better. In February 2018, he premiered the Shadow Atlas Suite for his "triple quartet" ensemble (4 strings, 4 horns, 4 rhythm section) and scored a string quartet piece for the VR film "Music Inside."

Kraus has also made a point to work with music education in under-served communities by participating as a clinician and lesson instructor with the Boyer Community Music Scholars Program and the Puerto Rican Institute of Music in North Philadelphia. In 2017, he started work with the Thornton Community Engagement Program in Los Angeles. Max has given clinics at high schools around Philadelphia with the Temple University Jazz Ensemble and in Southern California with the LAHO Group.

Born and raised in Lansdale, PA, Max was attracted to music from an early age and began playing the double bass in orchestras at age 9. He enjoyed both a strong public school music program and proximity to a bounty of amazing teachers and musicians in Philadelphia. He studied with local bassists Joanne Bates, Harold Robinson, Paul Gehman, Madison Rast, and Mike Boone. He is also an alum of the Settlement Music School’s Scholarship Jazz Ensemble mentored by Tony Miceli.

Max holds a Bachelor’s degree in music from the Boyer College of Music and Dance at Temple University, where he graduated Magna cum Laude with a certificate from the university Honors Program and studied with Dick Oatts, Terell Stafford, and Tim Warfield Jr. He also holds a Master’s degree in music at the USC Thornton School of Music where he studied with Darek Oles, Vince Mendoza, Alan Pasqua, and Peter Erskine. 

Kraus is currently based in Los Angeles and is a member of the Bill Holman Big Band. He is looking forward to some exciting projects over the next year, including a chamber/jazz duo project with guitarist Dominic Flynn.