This portrait of Theo Croker, part of a series of films illuminating the modern New York jazz scene, introduces one of the most exciting young voices in his generation. The grandson of famed trumpet player and New Orleans legend Doc Cheatham, Croker couldn't quite break into the Blue Note as a young musician so instead decided to up sticks and move to Shanghai, where he freelanced, taking gigs wherever he could.
As pointed out by journalist Ashley Kahn, this is an unusual route for a young player to take, especially one who trained under Donald Byrd. For Croker the stars began to align when Dee Dee Bridgewater, a Grammy-winning singer praised for a long career and for her takes on songs by Sarah Vaughan and Ella Fitzgerald, noticed him while on tour in China. Drawn to the only African-American in the orchestra, she soon discovered that he was the full package. With a sense of style, self and talent beyond his years, Croker was a gem hiding out in the far East.
With wisdom dropped every minute and a series of great performing shots, this instalment of Gloria Rebecchi's documentary series is one to watch for all interested in the modern blend of jazz, hip-hop and spirituality.
Munich Summer Piano Festival 1992
Munich Summer Piano Festival 1995