Last Call Review: Theo Croker/Escape Velocity/Okeh Records

Jun 1, 2016

Theo Croker has arrived.

On his new full length recording, Escape Velocity, the young trumpeter and bandleader presents a shimmering program of electric jazz that is refreshingly accessible and melodic.

Escape Velocity features Croker and his band on a program of 14 selections that blend together into a listening experience that you won't forget. He starts with a few words of intention-setting on "Raise Your Vibrations" before launching into "Transcend", and the band is off.  This record truly captures your attention from start to finish.

Theo Croker, on trumpet, is joined by his DVRK FUNK band  of Kassa Overall on drums and percussion; Eric Wheeler on bass; Michael King on Fender Rhodes and keyboards; Irwin Hall on alto saxophone; Ben Eunison on electric guitar, and specials guests including Croker mentor and Jazz superstar, vocalist Dee Dee Bridgewater, on  "Love From The Sun". This song was originally recorded in 1974 with saxophonist Gary Bartz, who supplies the liner notes for this new recording.

Theo Croker is a trumpeter, vocalist, composer and bandleader. He is the grandson of the late great jazz trumpeter Doc Cheatham. After hearing Cheatham perform, Croker took up the trumpet at the age of 11. In only a few short years Croker was studying music formally at the Douglas Anderson School of the Arts in Jacksonville followed by the Music Conservatory at Oberlin College. 

Croker lived and worked in China for nearly a decade. He took up residency at the House of Blues in Shanghai, China were he refined his style.

He released his debut, AfroPhysicist, in 2014.

Escape Velocity follows a mini-release from last year that promised good things to come. With Escape Velocity, the promise is delivered.  Theo's musical mentors have praised his talent, drive and musicianship. Donald Byrd said, “There are good, great and nice musical players, but then there are phenomenal instrumentalists such as Theo. I would place Theo in a class of musicians who will redirect the flow, change and alter the current of today’s New Jazz.” According to Marcus Belgrave, “Theo Croker is one of the most promising and creative trumpeters on the horizon today and is also one of the most energetic artists I have ever encountered.” Wynton Marsalis stated that Theo “has the tools, the intelligence, the ability and the talents. The future looks bright for Croker."

Theo Croker's previous recordings are DVRK Funk and Afro-Physicist.

For more information you may visit