Flushing Town Hall ends 2014 on a high note

By Norm Harris

At Flushing Town Hall the old year rang out with the sounds of a new trumpet icon during the final performance of the cultural center’s 2014 Jazz series.

Headlining the late December show was Theo Croker, grandson of the late and legendary trumpet player Doc Adolphus Cheatham, who performed songs from his latest album “AfroPhysicist.”

Croker was accompanied by his group Dvrkfunk, which includes Irwin Hall on alto sax and flute, Kassa Overall on drums, bassist Eric Wheeler and pianist Michael King.

The ensemble of young lions, all of them in their 20s, kept the audience’s rapt attention to every beat, every note and creative nuance as they played his original compositions, “Transcend,” “The Fundamentals,” “It’s Not You, It’s Me — But You Didn’t Help,” “Meditations,” “Hash Tag Truth” and “Light Skinned Beauty.”

As a segue toward the end of the evening’s variably complex, electrofunk inspired single set and in commemoration/celebration of his roots to his original childhood mentor, Grandpa Doc Cheatham, young Croker played a Joe Henderson mainstream composition, “ Shades of Jade.”

“I just wanted to let you know that we know and can play that older jazz stuff also,” Croker told the crowd.

The finale as a seasonally inspired composition on solo muted trumpet of “Merry Christmas,” was dedicated to Croker’s guest of honor and grandmother, Mariam, Doc Cheatham’s widow, who was sitting front row center enjoying her husband’s legacy anew.