Theo Croker: Tiny Desk Concert
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 Published On Feb 17, 2023

This year's Black History Month celebration at the Tiny Desk features a carefully crafted lineup spanning many genres, generations and walks of life. Each artist represents the best in their class and will be performing at the Tiny Desk for the first time.

Mitra I. Arthur | February 17, 2023
Trumpeter Theo Croker arrived at the Tiny Desk with an unmistakable air of chill, an easy smile on display. That chill is the result of a clear musical approach and determination that dates back to Croker's teenage days forming big bands and fearlessly pushing the bounds of the music played by his grandfather, trumpeter Doc Cheatham. His reach includes collaborations with a variety of musicians: vocalists Ari Lennox and Jill Scott, rappers J. Cole and Wyclef Jean and mentors including NEA Jazz Master Dee Dee Bridgewater and saxophonist Gary Bartz. Croker's latest two albums, LOVE QUANTUM and BLK2LIFE // A FUTURE PAST, and new EP BY THE WAY showcase Croker's journey as a trumpeter, composer and producer in expanding the music commonly known as jazz with hip-hop, R&B and electronic sounds.

Croker's performance here is a stripped-down version of a Theo Croker show you might see these days. His first composition, "JAZZ IS DEAD," is anchored by a bassline provided by Eric Wheeler that stayed in my mind for days. The declarative title is sure to catch attention and elicit questions, but listen to the lyrics to understand Croker's determination to both reclaim, and expand, the form. "The Messenger" features a dazzling solo from pianist Michael King, leading into Croker's trumpet dancing over the melody. The joy in "Happy Feet (for dancers)," featuring the rich vocals of MALAYA, might have you adding the song to your next party playlist. The last song in the set, "No Escape from Bliss," is an aptly named calming and contemplative resolution to the performance.

SET LIST
“JAZZ IS DEAD”
“The Messenger”
“Happy Feet (for dancers) (feat. MALAYA)”
“No Escape from Bliss”

MUSICIANS
Theo Croker: trumpet, vocals
Eric Wheeler: double bass
Michael King: keyboards
Michael Shekwoaga Ode: drums
MALAYA: vocals

TINY DESK TEAM
Producer: Mitra Arthur
Director: Joshua Bryant
Audio Engineer: Neil Tevault
Audio Mix: Josh Rogosin
Creative Director: Bob Boilen
Series Producer: Bobby Carter
Videographers: Joshua Bryant, Sofia Seidel, Kara Frame, Michael Zamora
Editor: Sofia Seidel
Audio Assistant: Brian Jarboe
Production Assistant: Jill Britton
Tiny Desk Team: Suraya Mohamed, Marissa Lorusso, Hazel Cills, Maia Stern, Ashley Pointer
VP, Visuals and Music: Keith Jenkins
Senior VP, Programming: Anya Grundmann

#tinydesk #nprmusic #theocroker

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