Escape Velocity

Escape Velocity

Trumpeter Theo Croker’s third album blends the celestial spiritual jazz modalities of Pharoah Sanders with funky, Donald Byrd-esque vamps and organ-drenched fusions reminiscent of Lonnie Liston Smith. But it’s hardly a retro affair, with crisp brass lolling to a contemporary R&B bump (“No Escape from Bliss”) or skittering to broken-beat rhythms (“The Right Time”). When Croker teams with his mentor, singer Dee Dee Bridgewater, for a clubby remake of her “Love from the Sun,” or trades rippling solos with his DVRK FUNK bandmates on “We Can’t Breathe,” he rockets jazz into new sonic orbits.

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