AfroPhysicist

Theo Croker

AfroPhysicist

Trumpeter Theo Croker comes by his instrument naturally, being a grandson of the legendary Doc Cheatham. Croker’s third album opens with a solo tribute to Cheatham and then moves into electric groove jazz and rock, with a horn section filling out the background. While the band assembled here play with a mix of muscle and funk, there are also some noteworthy guests. Album producer Dee Dee Bridgewater sings on Buddy Johnson’s “Save Your Love for Me,” a Latin version of the Michael Jackson tune “I Can’t Help It,” and a straight-ahead but brief run-through of “Moody’s Mood for Love.” Elsewhere, vibraphonist Stefon Harris joins in on the simmering “Visions,” and Roy Hargrove sings his composition “Roy Allan,” with a smooth R&B vibe created by Croker’s arrangement.  Croker stands out on the hard-hitting funk original “Realize” and the Afro-funk of “It’s Not You It’s Me (But You Didn’t Help),” with him sounding great on mute. Wholly modern but grounded in tradition, this would make granddad proud.

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