Theo Croker „Star Nation People“ (US)
Theo Croker – trumpet, Michael King – keyboard, Eric Wheeler – double bass, Michael Ode – percussioní
The Florida-born trumpeter Theo Croker made his first big splash in the jazz scene with his 2006 debut album The Fundamentals. More than a decade later, he has proven he is no one-trick pony – on the contrary. His latest album, Escape Velocity, has confirmed his status as a firmly embedded jazz star.
Despite his promising debut, Croker’s real breakthrough into celebrity status came with his collaboration with vocalist Dee Dee Bridgewater. He joined her band in 2009, and five years later the famous singer produced his album Afro Physicist. Croker’s work bears the influence of his teacher Donald Byrd and his mentor Roy Hargrove. The musician’s style was also formed by his grandfather “Doc” Cheatham, a trumpeter and 1997 Grammy Award winner for Best Jazz Solo. It is thus no wonder that the music of the thirty-three-year-old American is rich with jazz tradition – it draws on swing, bop, and modal jazz. But it is also imbued with Croker’s love of funk, soul, and hip-hop.
Theo Croker’s music carries a deep message about life and the soul. But the main idea is crystal clear: music connects us all.
Štěpánka Balcarová Sextet & Małgorzata Hutek (CZ, PL)
Štěpánka Balcarová – trumpet, Małgorzata Hutek – vocals, Marcel Bárta – saxophones, Nikola Kolodziejczyk – piano, Jaromír Honzák – double bass, Grzegorz Maslowski – percussion, Robert Fischmann – flutes
Czechs and Poles, poetry and jazz. These are the strands aptly woven by the trumpeter and composer Štěpánka Balcarová in the Life and Happiness of Julian Tuwim.
The eponymous record contains musical settings to the poems of the well-known Polish poet Julian Tuwim. All of the music was composed by Štěpánka Balcarová, with vocals performed by the Polish Malgorzata Hutek, who gave the initial impetus to the whole project. The international jazz septet consists of prominent musicians of the Czech and Polish jazz scenes.
“Julian Tuwim was one of the first Polish poets I began reading and kept coming back to more and more. His poems appear to be simple and plain, but each of them hides many a profound thought. Setting the poems to music was a very inspirational experience, and I also think that the texts can make my music more accessible to the audience,” Balcarová explains why she chose to compose to the works of the laureate of the prestigious Polish state distinction, the Academic Laurels.
Besides the protagonists of the whole project, the concert offers a half-Polish, half-Czech band brought together by Balcarová’s wish to imbue the programme with a unique atmosphere by joining brilliant musicians from both countries.