Theodore Lee Croker is a jazz trumpeter, singer, and bandleader from Leesburg, Florida. The second son of William Henry Croker, a civil rights activist, high school principal and farmer, and Alicia Cheatham, a guidance counselor, and the grandson of Grammy Award winning trumpeter Doc Cheatham. Theo is a graduate of the Oberlin College Conservatory.
By the time he was ready for college Theo had his pick of the country’s finest music schools. Donald Byrd, the virtuoso jazz trumpeter, multi-Grammy® Award winning composer, recording artist and pioneer in jazz education, inspired him to choose the Oberlin Conservatory in Oberlin, Ohio. While at Oberlin Theo studied with jazz legends like Gary Bartz, Robin Eubanks, Billy Hart, Wendell Logan, Marcus Belgrave, and Dan Wall. In the spring of 2006 Theo was awarded the prestigious Presser Music Foundation Award. He used the grant money to record his first album, The Fundamentals.
After college Theo began his postgraduate education hanging out and playing with older musicians like Benny Powell, Jimmy and Tootie Heath, Billy Hart, and Marcus Belgrave. His mentors have repeatedly praised Theo’s talent, drive and musicianship.
Today, Theo lives and plays in Shanghai, China, where from September 2007 through January 2008 his Quartet held residency at the “The House of Blues and Jazz.” In March 2008 the Theo Croker Quartet released In The Tradition, on Arbors Records, featuring Albert “Tootie” Heath on Drums, Sullivan Fortner on Piano & Joe Sanders on Bass.