One night at Kuumbwa Jazz Center, Santa Cruz CA
Trumpeter/composer Theo Croker’s new album, Star People Nation, isn’t a sonic departure of his critically acclaimed release Escape Velocity, but a continuation towards much grander musical legacy that is pushing the realms of melody, rhythm, and vibratory enlightenment. Star People Nation takes listeners on a journey through a dark, cosmic, eloquent, yet masterful, work. Upon the album’s release, The Wall Street Journal heralded it as “…timeless and of-the-moment”.
As the grandson of the late trumpeter Doc Cheatham, and former student of legendary jazz trumpeter Donald Byrd, trumpeter Croker is an artist steeped in jazz tradition. Well-versed in the swing, bop, and modal styles of acoustic jazz, Croker’s own music reveals a love of organic funk, soul, and gooey, groove-oriented hip-hop. It’s a vital amalgam that would have pleased the forward-thinking Byrd, whose own 1970s funk-jazz albums are an obvious touchstone for Croker.
Croker’s ensemble on this concert date will feature Michael King on keyboards, Eric Wheeler on bass, and Shelwoaga Ode on drums.