104

Theo Croker: The Fundamentals

By

Sign in to view read count
Theo Croker: The Fundamentals
Theo Croker's The Fundamentals is a meticulous record. In the liner notes, the 21-year-old grandson of Doc Cheatham, who composed and arranged every song, describes many of the tunes in technical terms. This attention to detail—and perhaps also a need for the listener to understand the songs on levels both technical and non-technical—allows the record to be intricate without being cryptic.

"Interlude One," which serves as the bass line for "The Fundamentals," is strangely compelling. Though the tune is basically a progression of overdubbed trumpet notes, it is Croker's sly and elegant nature that makes the tune sound bolder than it really is. "The Fundamentals" grounds itself in that irresistible interlude and conveys the "theme of life and purpose" with its upbeat tempo and expressive solos. Trombonist Andre Murchison solos in a manner almost as scrupulous as Croker's liner notes and pianist Sullivan Fortner plays with a lilt that is both playful and earnest.

"The Middle Passage," which refers to the 18th Century triangular slave trade, is another compositional gem. Bassist Chris Mees embodies the agony, strength and spirit of the blues and Fortner portrays the slaves' fear and cunning in his light touch and mellifluous notes. As a composer, Croker is at his best here, capturing the rawness of the blues.

At the conclusion of this disc, Croker shows his playful side in "Left Sided," which is, apparently, "about being on the left side of things." The message is simple—make your own path—and throughout the sextet have taken it to heart. Croker lets loose, becoming less meticulous and more lighthearted and drummer Ulysses Owens plays a simmering solo that threatens to boil over toward the end of the tune. The song seems fitting to end a recording that, despite being carefully composed and earnestly performed, has always been on the left side of things.

Track Listing

Interlude One; Focus; Interlude Two; The Middle Passage; With You; The Fundamentals; Blooze; Falling; Interlude Three; Left Sided.

Personnel

Theo Croker: trumpet; Stantwan Kendrick: alto saxophone; Andre Murchison: trombone; Sullivan Fortner: piano; Chris Mees: bass; Ulysses "Bim" Owens: drums.

Album information

Title: The Fundamentals | Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: Left Sided Music

Post a comment about this album

Tags

View events near New York City
Jazz Near New York City
Events Guide | Venue Guide | Get App | More...

Shop Amazon

More

Read Data Lords
Data Lords
Maria Schneider Orchestra
Read Sleepy Town
Sleepy Town
Jamie Pregnell
Read Momento
Momento
Dave Milligan
Read Peace
Peace
Spirit Fingers
Read Warmer Than Blood
Warmer Than Blood
Chris Montague
Read Off Brand
Off Brand
Collage Project
Read Expanding Light
Expanding Light
Whit Dickey Trio
Read Iron Starlet
Iron Starlet
Connie Han

All About Jazz needs your support

Donate
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, shelter in place and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary effort that will help musicians now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the bottom right video ad). Thank you.

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.