Monday Recommendation: Theo Croker

Theo Croker, Afro Physicist (Okeh)
Theo Croker coverMuch of the verbiage about the elimination of borders between musical categories is the work of publicists. It is marketable to be, or claim to be, cross-genre. However, in the case of Croker, an impressive 28-year-old trumpeter, his new album substantiates the claim. It touches on hip-hop, R&B, bebop and 1970s soul, but at its core his playing extends the mainstream jazz tradition of which his grandfather, the great trumpeter Doc Cheatham, was a vital part. Croker announces his credentials in a short unaccompanied piece. Then, supported by bright young contemporaries in various instrumental combinations, he plays gorgeously through 12 tracks and 12 distinct moods. Dee Dee Bridgewater encouraged Croker, produced his album and sings on three pieces, including a compelling version of Buddy Johnson’s R&B classic “Save Your Love For Me.”

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