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Afro Physicist

Release Date: April 18, 2014
Available now on:

Released: Apr 18, 2014
℗ 2014 DDB Productions, Inc. Under exclusive license to Sony Music Entertainment

Track Listing:

  1. ALAPA (FOR DOC)
  2. REALIZE
  3. IT’S NOT YOU IT’S ME (BUT YOU DIDN’T HELP)
  4. LIGHT SKINNED BEAUTY
  5. WANTING YOUR LOVE
  6. SAVE YOUR LOVE FOR ME (FEAT. DEE DEE BRIDGEWATER)
  7. VISIONS (FEAT. STEFON HARRIS)
  8. THE FUNDAMENTALS
  9. ROY ALLAN (FEAT. ROY HARGROVE)
  10. MOODY’S MOOD FOR LOVE (FEAT. DEE DEE BRIDGEWATER)
  11. I CAN’T HELP IT (FEAT. DEE DEE BRIDGEWATER)
  12. BO MASEKELA

Personell:

Theo Croker / Trumpet, Conductor, Arranger, Composer

Dee Dee Bridgewater/ Vocals, Roy Hargrove/ Vocals, Karriem Riggins/ Drums, Luisito Quintero/ Percussion, Michael Bowie/Bass, David Gilmore/ Guitar, Sullivan Fortner/Piano, Irwin Hall/ Alto Saxophone & Alto Flute, Andre Murchison/ Trombone, Stacy Dillard/ Tenor Saxophone, Jason Marshall/Bari Saxophone, Jumaane Smith/ Trumpet

Description:

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 theMichael 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 withBridgewater, 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 makeAfro Physicist a truly alchemic experience.

-Matt Coller- Allmusic.com