June 12, 2024


Website about Jazz and Blues

CD review: Theo Croker – Star People Nation 2019: Video, CD cover

With his new album, STAR PEOPLE NATION, young trumpet star Theo Croker builds a bridge between the past, today, and tomorrow’s jazz.

From the swinging “The Messenger,” to the rhythmic explorations of “Alkebulan,” to the soulful and hip “Understand Yourself (feat. Chronixx)” which merges African percussion, American horns, and Caribbean flavor, STAR PEOPLE NATION Croker’s third full-length release showcases the trumpeter, producer, arranger, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist at his most pure, poetic, passionate, and powerful. For Croker STAR PEOPLE NATION is a moment of arrival and he had some specific goals in mind while making this album. He wanted to achieve a certain standard technically as a musician while having the sonic clarity of an electronic or pop album where it’s clear, but intense. The album also needed to have the groove and thump of hip-hop and rap, the sensuality and color of R&B, and finally the harmony, depth, intellectual stimulation and intricacy of jazz.

The self-produced album features Croker on trumpet, keys/synths, programming and background vocals alongside a core band comprised of Irwin Hall (reeds), Michael King (piano, keys), Eric Wheeler (bass) and Kassa Overall (drums, percussion) with special guests Rose Gold, ELEW, Eric Harland and Chronixx to round out the line-up. Theo Croker is a jazz trumpeter, singer, and bandleader from Leesburg, Florida. He is the grandson of Grammy® Award winning trumpeter Doc Cheatham. At sixteen, Theo left home to attend The Douglas Anderson School of the Arts in Jacksonville, Florida, where his talent and drive attracted attention both in school and with local audiences. By the time he was ready for college, Theo had his pick of the country s finest music schools. Donald Byrd, the virtuoso jazz trumpeter and multi-Grammy® Award winning artist, inspired him to choose the Oberlin Conservatory in Ohio. While at Oberlin, Theo studied with jazz legends like Gary Bartz, Robin Eubanks, Billy Hart, Wendell Logan, Marcus Belgrave, and Dan Wall. In 2013, Theo returned to the United States after a seven-year stay in Shanghai, China where he broadened his concept of jazz to encompass other surprisingly complimentary genres such as R&B, Hip Hop, fusion/rock, and the Blues. That same year, Theo met and performed for the first time with vocal icon Dee Dee Bridgewater, who then took him under her wings, used his band as her touring group, and produced his OKeh debut, 2014’s Afro Physicist followed in 2016 by the critically-acclaimed Escape Velocity album, which The Wall Street Journal praised as “timeless and of-the-moment.”

  1. Have You Come to Stay – Theo Croker / Bobby Hutcherson
  2. Getaway Gold – Theo Croker feat. Rose Gold
  3. Subconscious Flirtations and Titillations
  4. Wide Open
  5. Portrait of William
  6. Just Let It Ride
  7. Crestfallen
  8. The Messenger – Theo Croker feat. ELEW
  9. Alkebulan – Theo Croker feat. Eric Harland and Kassa Overall
  10. Understand Yourself – Theo Croker feat. Chronixx

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