Published May 23, 2019There's an epic, otherworldly feel right from the jump of trumpeter, producer, arranger, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Theo Croker's latest, Star People Nation. "Have You Come to Stay" sets the stage for what's to come, a sonic, genre-spanning adventure fuelled by jazz and limited only by the sky.
Inviting Chronixx to the party is an inspired move, adding the reggae star's positive mindset and energy to uplift the mood and champion self-determination on "Understand Yourself." Croker, who's previously collaborated with J. Cole, Common and the late Roy Hargrove, plays in the sonic vastness of "Wide Open," channelling free-flowing jazz movements and spiritual possibilities.
The presence of Eric Harland & Kassa Overall on "Alkebulan" delivers a moody, ethereal setting; "Just Let It Ride" veers into seemingly too safe conventionality before setting off in elliptical, frenetic directions; and "Subconscious Flirtations and Titillations" grabs high air as it taps into the cosmic unknown.
The self-reflective and unapologetically black Theo Croker is simply operating on a different level, an alternative wavelength, and he works to holistically reassemble and redefine the human experience. Those that can keep up will be aurally rewarded and heartened. (Sony Masterworks)