Theo Croker’s DVRK FUNK:
Theo Croker, trumpet
Irwin Hall, saxophone & flute (alto)
Michael King, piano & keyboards
Eric Wheeler, acoustic & electric bass
Karriem Riggins, drums
Sunday, July 20
Performance at 8:00PM
6010 W Pico Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90035
“His music is full of catchy tunes and pervasive, danceable funk rhythms;
he’s the rare American jazzman who draws on the legacy of
Fela Kuti as much as that of Miles Davis.” – Wall Street Journal
A blend of jazz, funk, soul, and even rock and hip-hop, ‘AfroPhysicist’
finds Croker weaving through genres without missing a beat.” – Life + Times
Trumpeter Theo Croker is set to perform in Los Angeles at The Mint on Sunday, July 20 at 8:00PM. The performance is in celebration of his new album, AfroPhysicist (available now on DDB Records via Sony’s OKeh) and will feature his DVRK FUNK group which includes alto saxophonist and flautist Irwin Hall, Michael King on piano and keyboards, bassist Eric Wheeler, and drummerKarriem Riggins.
Croker is a bold young soul-jazz newcomer, grandson of New Orleans trumpet legend Doc Cheatham, and is fortified by tradition with no lack of contemporary electricity to propel him into the future. Croker’s new album is his third album and the inaugural release on iconic vocalist Dee Dee Bridgewater’s label. The record also includes three vocals sung by Bridgewater, each from different eras and genres, and all re-imagined in bold strokes.
Though Croker recorded two previous albums as a leader – The Fundamentals in 2007 and In the Tradition in 2009 – the time he spent in Shanghai prepared him to become the daring artist that Bridgewater was excited to unleash on her DDB label. “What was hot in New York didn’t matter,” says Croker. “We were far enough removed that nobody was judging us.”
When Croker met Bridgewater, it was October of 2009 during the Shanghai Jazz Festival, where he was playing in the big band that backed her. The two hit it off at an after-party jam and met for lunch during her next visit. When Bridgewater inquired about the music the trumpeter was working on, Croker handed over his iPod and told her to listen for herself. By Summer 2010, they were in discussions about recording an album. “The first thing Dee Dee said was, ‘We are not doing a jazz record,'” Croker says laughing. “It was perfect. I already knew who I was and I had no inhibitions.”
Before moving to Shanghai, the then 16-year-old Croker lived in Jacksonville, Florida, attending the Douglas Anderson School of Arts and becoming an artist in residence at the Ritz Theatre with its big band. Upon graduation, he attended the Oberlin Conservatory of Music in Ohio, drawn by Dr. Donald Byrd and a faculty of jazz legends including Gary Bartz. Croker won the Presser Music Foundation Award in 2006 and used the money to fund a debut album of original compositions.
“I’ve always tried to find my own way,” Croker states. “I went to Oberlin College instead of Juilliard. Then I went to China. Once there, I opened up – not only to survive but to investigate what was going on. I joined a way-out fusion group led by Alec Haavik, but I also joined a salsa band. Musicians in China don’t have stereotypes. To live well, you played everything.” Now, following several years of hustling as a freelance musician and live music promoter in Shanghai, Croker is back in New York preparing to take it to the next level. “Dee Dee said it was time for me to come home.”