Who or what inspired you to take up your instrument, and pursue a career in music?
An inexplicable attraction to sound and vibrations. Never fully understand why or how. That was the draw.
Who or what have been the most important influences on your musical life and career?
Dee Dee Bridgewater, Donald Byrd, My Family, Gary Bartz, Dr. Wendell Logan, Roy Hargrove, Miles Davis, Outkast, Meditation, Good Health, Malcolm X, China Moses, Marcus Belgrave
What have been the greatest challenges of your career so far?
Keeping up with the “artificial urgency” of the 21st century (i.e.: Cell phones, Social media, etc).
Maintaining a centre, or place of peace to confide within me.
Avoiding “fads” or “clichés” while remaining competitive in the marketplace.
Never sacrificing my true self or artistry.
Of which performance/recordings are you most proud?
Always the one(s) that are coming next. The present is the only reality. Past performances and recordings are just a time capsule of a moment.
Which particular works do you think you play best?
My own. When I’m playing my own music it fully opens me up to the channel of creativity. Fully exposed. Fully honest. Fully tapped in.
How do you make your repertoire choices from season to season?
I do from moment to moment. Following no rules. It’s rarely an issue once the music starts. Usually, I program sets throughout the performance.
Do you have a favorite concert venue to perform in and why?
Honestly, I’m grateful to perform for any audience with an open mind, heart, and ears! I’m blessed and grateful for all of them. To pick one or even a few is impossible.
Who are your favourite musicians?
Dizzy Gillespie, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Bob Marley, Gary Bartz, Thad Jones, Marcus Belgrave, Ahmad Jamal, Outkast, Bjork, Erykah Badu, Donald Byrd, Miles Davis, Kassa Overall, Chronic, Rose Gold, China Moses, Eric Wheeler, Michael King, ELEW, Irwin Hall, Michael Ode….I could fill this entire article with names…..
What is your most memorable concert experience?
Jazzaladia (San Sebastian, Spain) with Dee Dee Bridgewater. We played an hour and a half over the time limit. It was insane. We started with “Afro Blue” and ended with an impromptu “Get Up Stand Up” by Bob Marley. The energy was insane.
As a musician, what is your definition of success?
I’m an artist, a creator, music is a vessel. As long as I’m honest and true to the inspiration I am successful.
What do you consider to be the most important ideas and concepts to impart to aspiring musicians?
Practice!! Learn the craft!! It never ends!! Being hip isn’t enough to build a life in music. You must serve the music with your studies or you’ll be just a fad.
What is your present state of mind?
Excited! Positive! Hopeful! Energized! Glowed up!
Theo Croker’s new album is released on 17 May
Photo Credit: Beatriz Moreno