The Doc Cheatham Legacy Band
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The Doc Cheatham Legacy Band


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Doc Cheatham was, without question, the greatest 90-year old trumpeter of all time. In fact, no brass player over the age of 80 had ever played with his power, range, confidence, and melodic creativity. Most trumpeters fade while in their 60s due to the physical difficulty of their instrument, but Cheatham did not truly find himself as a soloist until he was nearly 70.

Doc Cheatham's career reaches back to the early '20s, when he played in vaudeville theaters backing such traveling singers as Bessie Smith and Clara Smith. He moved to Chicago, recorded with Ma Rainey (on soprano sax), played with Albert Wynn, subbed for Louis Armstrong (his main idol), and had his own group in 1926. After stints with Wilbur DeParis and Chick Webb, he toured Europe with Sam Wooding. Due to his wide range and pretty tone Cheatham worked as a non-soloing first trumpeter with McKinney's Cotton Pickers and Cab Calloway throughout the 1930s. He spent time with Teddy Wilson's big band, and was with the commercially successful Eddie Heywood Sextet (backing Billie Holiday on some recordings). In the 1950s, Cheatham alternated between Dixieland (Wilbur DeParis, guest spots with Eddie Condon) and Latin bands (Perez Prado, Herbie Mann). He was with Benny Goodman during 1966-1967 but it was not until the mid-'70s that Cheatham felt truly comfortable as a soloist. Duet sets with pianist Sammy Price launched his new career, and until his death in 1997, he recorded fairly prolifically including dates for Sackville, New York Jazz, Parkwood, Stash, GHB, Columbia, and several European labels. Cheatham was also a charming singer whose half-spoken, half-sung vocals took nothing away from his chance-taking trumpet flights. ~ Scott Yanow, All Music Guide

Fornted by his grandson Theo Croker, the "Doc Cheatham Legacy Band" was put together to preserve the legacy of Doc Cheatham's 70 year career and to continue the tradition of Doc's unique and traditional sound. At 21 years old, Theo has already distinguished himself as a vital force in the jazz community. As the grandson of jazz trumpet legend Doc Cheatham, Theo's legacy is profoundly felt when he plays. His musicianship possesses a depth that can usually only be achieved through a lifetime's worth of experience.

Theo graduated in May 2007 from the Oberlin College Conservatory of Music in Oberlin, Ohio with a B.A. in Jazz performance. At Oberlin Theo studied under the guidance of legendary trumpeter Marcus Belgrave & Donald Byrd, as well as Wednell Logan, Gary Bartz, Billy Hart, and Robin Eubanks. While in the midst of his studies at Oberlin, Theo performed professionally with legendary artists such as Louis Hayes and his Cannonball Adderley Tribute Quintet (at Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola at Lincoln Center). He was a featured artist at the 2005 JVC Jazz Festival at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Rose Hall, sharing the stage with jazz legends Clark Terry, Jimmy Heath, Frank Wess, Benny Powell, and others. He was also a featured artist at the 2005 Windsor Jazz Festival, the 2005 Aspen Snow Mass Festival at the Wheeler Opera House, feature performer for the 2005 Highlights in Jazz series at the Tribeca Center for Performing Arts in New York City, and special guest with Nicholas Payton at the 2005 New Orleans Jazz Festival, (as well as leading his own quintet on countless performances in Cleveland, Detroit, Chicago, NYC and all over the US).

Theo has performed with many legendary musicians such as: Donald Byrd, Jimmy Heath, Wendell Logan, Donald Byrd, Gary Bartz, Jon Faddis, Nicholas Payton, Frank Wess, Louis Hayes, Wynton Marsalis, Ellis Marsalis, Jimmy Owens, Roy Hargrove, Eric Lewis, Regina Carter, James McBride, The Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, Clark Terry, Henry Butler, Slide Hampton, Bill Lee, Frank Foster, Marcus Belgrave, Wycleff Gordon, Roscoe Mitchell, Robin Eubanks, Billy Hart, James Spalding, Catherine Russell, and many others.

Theo currently leads his own quintet following the January 2007 release of his debut album "The Fundamentals", which has been recieved international acclaim in such countries as: Australia, Holland, and the UK as well as all over the US.

For more information on Theo visit his EPK at