Afro Physicist

Afro Physicist

by Theo Croker



Theo Croker's third full-length album, the Dee Dee Bridgewater-produced Afro Physicist, is an ambitious, stylistically wide-ranging album that showcases the jazz trumpeter's soulful post-bop chops, sophisticated arranging skills, and adventurous compositional style. The grandson of the late jazz trumpeter Doc Cheatham and a graduate of Oberlin College, Croker is an accomplished musician with a deep musical reservoir to draw from. Working closely with Bridgewater, with whom he has been performing regularly since 2009, Croker delves into a sound heavily informed by '70s soul-jazz, but which touches upon groove-oriented Latin jazz ("It's Not You, It's Me [But You Didn't Help]"), gargantuan keyboard and electric guitar-heavy jazz-funk ("Realize"), and atmospheric, dream-inducing modal jazz ("Visions," with vibraphonist Stefon Harris). There's also a subtle hip-hop and contemporary R&B influence running throughout most of Afro Physicist, primarily evident in the propulsive funky rhythms of drummer Karriem Riggins. Even on the frenetic, Ornette Coleman-esque "The Fundamentals," Croker finds common ground between late-'60s free bop and modern breakbeat dance music. Elsewhere, Croker showcases Bridgewater (a vocal dynamo and journeyman bandleader with a charismatic stage swagger equivalent to Art Blakey's drumming) on several numbers, including a midtempo '70s funk reworking of "Save Your Love for Me" and a Brazilian Carnival-ready take on the Michael Jackson classic "I Can't Help It." Blessed with a fluid, harmonically supple trumpet technique, Croker could easily monopolize the album. However, as evidenced by his collaborations with Bridgewater, Croker is a confident and sympathetic accompanist with an ear for crafting a balanced, powerful group aesthetic. He's so confident, he even brings on firebrand trumpeter/singer Roy Hargrove (clearly a huge influence on him) for the propulsive, Hargrove-penned contemporary bossa nova fusion number "Roy Allan." It's a bold, open-hearted statement that speaks to Croker's grounded sense of himself, a sense that permeates all of Afro Physicist. Ultimately, however, the palpable synergy and exuberant creative juice flowing between Croker and Bridgewater here are what make Afro Physicist a truly alchemic experience.

Product Details

Release Date: 05/19/2014
Label: Masterworks
UPC: 0888837963121
catalogNumber: 379631

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Theo Croker   Primary Artist,Trumpet,Conductor,Soloist
Roy Hargrove   Vocals
Michael Bowie   Electric Bass,Acoustic Bass
Dee Dee Bridgewater   Vocals
David Gilmore   Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar
Luisito Quintero   Percussion
Karriem Riggins   Drums
Stefon Harris   Vibes
China Moses   Background Vocals
Stacy Dillard   Tenor Saxophone
Jumaane Smith   Trumpet
Sullivan Fortner   Piano,Background Vocals,fender rhodes,Fender Jaguar,Hammond B3
Jason Marshall   Baritone Saxophone
Irwin Hall   Alto Flute,Alto Saxophone
Andrae Murchison   Trombone

Technical Credits

Roy Hargrove   Composer,Lyricist
James Moody   Composer
Buddy Johnson   Composer,Lyricist
Jimmy McHugh   Composer
Dee Dee Bridgewater   Producer,Liner Notes
Dorothy Fields   Composer
Gina Foster   Composer
Geoff Gurd   Composer
Martin Lascelles   Composer
Caiphus Semenya   Composer
Stevie Wonder   Composer,Lyricist
Susaye Greene   Composer
Anthony Ruotolo   Engineer
Theo Croker   Arranger,Composer,Lyricist
Tulani Bridgewater Kowalski   Executive Producer
Jean-Luc Barilla   Artwork
Ramel Govantes   Composer
Kevin Plasket   Composer

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