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PDX Jazz and Soul’d Out present Theo Croker
April 17, 2019 | 8:00 pm- $20 – $25
“Theo Croker has been generating momentum in the jazz world for a while, but 2019 may prove the year he blasts through the stratosphere.” — Jazziz
“There isn’t a reason in the world why people who enjoy jazz musicians in other contexts couldn’t find something to embrace dearly in Mr. Croker’s music, which is timeless and of-the-moment. It goes someplace very special in concert.” — Wall Street Journal
As the grandson of the late venerable trumpeter Doc Cheatham, and former student of legendary jazz trumpeter Donald Byrd, trumpeter, composer, bandleader and multi-instrumentalist Theo Croker naturally follows an internal need to compose. Learning to play the trumpet at age 11 after hearing Cheatham play in New York City, by his teens Croker was studying music formally at the Douglas Anderson School of the Arts in Jacksonville followed by the Music Conservatory at Oberlin College. Launching his career with seven years spent in Shanghai, Croker first introduced his singular style in 2014 on the Dee Dee Bridgewater-assisted AfroPhysicist. His 2016 follow-up, Escape Velocity, marked a watershed moment for the artist, with the Wall Street Journal extolling the album as “timeless and of-the-moment.” Croker has also lent his talents to the world of hip hop, with rap superstar J. Cole’s platinum-certified No. 1 opus 4 Your Eyez Only, with Croker acting as trumpet arranger and performer on multiple tracks. GRAMMY® Award-winning rapper Common also sought out Croker for his critically-acclaimed album Black America Again.
Earlier in 2019, Croker released the lead single from his from his upcoming album Star People Nation (Masterworks), “Subconscious Flirtations and Titillations,” a simmering track that ebbs and flows with sonic seduction. “‘Subconscious Flirtations & Titillations’ is a sensual composition detailing the sapiosexual interplay between two lovers,” says Croker. “The track has a particularly lush soundscape, with its smooth, soaring horn lines, ethereal drum and percussion grooves, euphoric synth pads and sumptuous piano fills, all of which are complimented by a warm, sensual solo trumpet that weaves in and out to mimic the flirtatious game of slap and tickle.”
With its syncopated drum beat, passionate piano and emotionally-pulsating trumpet, “Subconscious Flirtations and Titillations” illuminates the newly-broadened scope of sound explored throughout the entirety of Croker’s forthcoming Star People Nation. The new album finds Croker at the helm of production, songwriting and performance for the first time in his career, resulting in an intimate exploration of what he describes as, “the everyday rituals of blackness.” A translation of his personal, spiritual and creative experience, Star People Nation is a self-reflective collection of provocative, powerfully-passionate and boundary-busting compositions that speak to our greater, shared human existence.