Theo Croker

Live In Paris
(Sony Masterworks)

As he has progressed in his career, trumpeter Theo Croker has become a maker of vibes just as much as he is a maker of music. This is certainly the case in the quick three-song live studio EP session recorded at the Deezer HQ in Paris while he was touring the BLK2LIFE || A Future Past material. This session captured where Croker was melding hip-hop into jazz for what is now a standard undertaking in Black American music, while still maintaining those identifiably clear ingredients in the stew.

Opener “Where Will You Go” settles into the soul just as much as it haunts with Croker’s vocals. Nothing creates a vibe like jamming out to Mos Def’s “UMI Says,” with Michael King taking moments throughout that are as lush as the perfect rug that brings the room together. Bassist Eric Wheeler and drummer Michael Shekwoaga Ode complete this picture with the ability to dazzle as individuals while meshing seamlessly as a unit. This is no better displayed than in their take on the closer “Fair Trade,” the Drake tune, where the group exists brightly while fading into the fabric as the necessary parts that make the piece whole, that keep it together. It’s a good enough to exist as its own thing until Croker’s next album comes along later this year.



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