Theo Croker

Theo Croker Photo
Theo Croker, Photo: Obidigbo Nzeribe

Biography

Theo Croker (born July 18, 1985 in Leesburg, Florida) is an American jazz musician.

Theo Croker is a storyteller who speaks through his trumpet. A GRAMMY Award-nominated artist, composer, producer, thought leader, and influencer, he is a creative who rejects boundaries and lets his voice ring through the music.

After seven years living in Shanghai, Croker's seething original sound crash-landed on 2014's Dee Dee Bridgewater-assisted album "Afro Physicist." Following the success of 2016's "Escape Velocity," he soared into a new stratosphere in 2019 with "Star People Nation." The album received a nomination in the "Best Contemporary Instrumental Album'' category at the 62nd GRAMMY Awards. The New York Times called it "an album that ranges from swirling hip-hop beats to driving swing to ravishing passages of African percussion."

Through it all, Croker's unobtrusive trumpet playing holds his small band together with verve and poise. Along the way, he's also lent his sound to platinum-selling albums from J. Cole to Ari Lennox and toured the globe many times with his band. In 2020, amid the global pandemic, he retreated to his childhood home and wrote his sixth full-length album, "BLK2LIFE || A FUTURE PAST" [Sony Music Masterworks].

BLK2LIFE || A FUTURE PAST is a contemporary oratorio inspired by the forgotten hero's journey through the universal origins of being black. On the album, Theo unpacks moments of heroism, trials, suffering, awakening and apotheosis in a musical pastiche brought to life by a host of other cultural renegades and held together by his playing. Traditions of the past, foundations of the present and explorations of the future. A sonic celebration & reclamation of Afro origins.

Current Album

Theo Croker - BLK2LIFE || A FUTURE PAST

Theo Croker - BLK2LIFE || A FUTURE PAST

On his new album BLK2LIFE || A FUTURE PAST, GRAMMY® nominated trumpeter, producer and composer THEO CROKER tells a haunting story about the origins, present and future of Black Culture in the United States.

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Drawing on deeply personal experiences, Croker's album reflects on this highly contemporary yet long-ago social experience. He relates it relentlessly and directly to current events, as in the lead single "State Of The Union 444|| BLK2THEFUTURE" featuring Wyclef Jean, yet goes far beyond. The album is a journey from the universal origins of African-American culture and its traditions of the past to its rootedness in the present and explores possible paths to the future. In the process, the album's 13 tracks come together like a contemporary oratorio. They tell of episodes of suffering and heroism, of harsh trials, awakening, rebellion and reconciliation.

"This album was put together like a screenplay," explains Theo Croker, "I want the listener to feel like they are in a movie. While meditating, the album's protagonist receives a message from his ancestors, who send him on a mission: to amplify the planet's vibrations through music that breaks the boundaries of each 'genre' and liberates culture from the threat of commercial appropriation," Theo explains. "BLK2LIFE || A FUTURE PAST is meant to be a deeply impactful, personal experience for the listener, but it's also dance music - it's Black music, after all."

Musically, Croker proves his stellar status as a musician, producer, and songwriter that reaches far beyond the young U.S. jazz scene. His album stands beyond all genre boundaries, combining elements from the entire history of African-American music culture and far beyond. BLK2LIFE || A FUTURE PAST thus not only celebrates African heritage, but is ultimately a reappropriation of that culture through culture. In addition to Wyclef Jean, the album features soul singers Ari Lennox, Charlotte Dos Santos or Malaya as guest musicians.

Discography

  • BLK2LIFE || A FUTURE PAST, 2021
  • Understand Yourself, 2020
  • Star People Nation, 2019
  • Escape Velocity, 2016
  • DVRKFUNK, 2015
  • AfroPhysicist, 2014
  • In the Tradition, 2009
  • The Fundamentals, 2006

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