Theo Croker releases EP DVRKFUNK

posted Nov 19, 2015, 9:32 PM by Tulani Bridgewater



On October 23rdTheo Croker and his band DVRKFUNK released a new 5-song digital EP, DVRKFUNK, via OKeh / DDB Records.

The EP arrives unchecked and unfiltered. It doesn't attempt to fit any one specific category, but draws upon the core principles of Jazz. Firmly of the present, merging tones, rhythms, acoustic and electronic grooves, it draws from all genres. This innovative alchemic amalgam reflects Croker's mission to embrace the past, while freely evolving the music forward. He rejects limitations and shirks boundaries.

In describing his intention behind the EP, Croker says, “In an effort to remain honest, music must serve not only as an artistic expression of humanity through tones and rhythms, but it must also reflect the society that gave it life," says Croker. "My life experiences have allowed me to share an eclectic, global viewpoint. DVRKFUNKgives listeners a look into that world.” 

DVRKFUNK is a follow up to Croker’s critically acclaimed 2014 release AfroPhysicist which the Wall Street Journalsaid was full of “...catchy tunes and pervasive, danceable funk rhythms” and Revive Music praised Croker’s ability to remove the “…rigid definitions of jazz” and infuse influences of hip-hop, Afrobeat and R&B.


Tour Dates:

November 3 – The Jazz Standard, NY, NY

November 21 – Nichols Concert Hall, Chicago, IL

November 23 – DASOTA, Jacksonville, FL

January 17-23 – The Jazz Cruise, Various Ports of Call

Sony Music Masterworks comprises the Masterworks, Sony Classical, OKeh, Portrait, Masterworks Broadway and Flying Buddha imprints. For email updates and information please visit

Theo Croker and #DVRKFUNK | Summer Tour

posted Jun 6, 2015, 11:12 AM by Tulani Bridgewater

2015 "Dee Dee's Feathers" Summer Tour Announced

posted Jun 2, 2015, 12:22 AM by Tulani Bridgewater   [ updated Jun 2, 2015, 12:24 AM ]

Dee Dee Bridgewater | Irvin Mayfield, Jr. & the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra/New Orleans 7 have announced their upcoming tour dates!

Bridgewater and Mayfield: Salute to New Orleans’ resilience

posted May 21, 2015, 7:12 AM by Tulani Bridgewater   [ updated May 21, 2015, 7:16 AM ]

Andra Jackson

  • MAY 21, 2015 12:00AM

  • Jazz trumpeter Irvin Mayfield is one of the many thousands of New Orleans residents whose lives were changed forever by the fury of Hurricane Katrina in Aug­ust 2005. He lost his father and family home.

In commemorating the 10th anniversary of the disaster, he prefers to focus on the resilience of his city’s people rather than the suffering and the loss of more than 1400 lives.

That’s why he and singer Dee Dee Bridgewater have commissioned music that pays homage to the people of New Orleans.

“We knew the anniversary was coming up and we wanted to make sure we had an appropriate message,’’ Mayfield says.

It is the music he, Bridgewater and the 15-piece New Orleans Jazz Orchestra will present when they perform for the first time in Australia next month. They are appearing in Sydney and will be the closing act at the Melbourne International Jazz Festival.

The celebrated, Grammy-winning Bridgewater is no stranger to Australian audiences. Mayfield’s name may not yet have the same reach. However, in New Orleans he is a favourite son. At just 36, he is a highly respected trumpeter — he took up the instrument at nine — a composer and orchestra artistic director. His style of playing is contemporary while reflecting a lineage that can be traced back to Louis Armstrong as well as to soul and funk influences. He is a university professor, a published author, has a jazz club in Bourbon Street named after him and is a cultural ambassador for the city.

In New Orleans he is man of the moment. Portraits of Mayfield adorn the covers of two magazines, showing a sinewy torso with tattoos covering his body like a spider web as he poses with his trumpet. His New Orleans Jazz Orchestra and Bridgewater headlined at last month’s New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, just as the orchestra found a new home and Mayfield’s latest book arrived in stores.

The charismatic Mayfield has a lot of pull in the music-obsessed city where even the mayor plays the trumpet. The recent opening of the Peoples Health New Orleans Jazz Market in the city’s downtown district was the realisation of a dream for Mayfield. The sleek, ultra-modern, glass-fronted building includes a concert venue and bar, and rehearsal and music education facilities. It is the city’s first purpose-built venue for jazz and its opening was a gala affair.

Mayfield’s new book is titled New Orleans Jazz Playhouse after his jazz venue at the Royal Sonesta Hotel and includes seven CDs recorded live at the club. Mayfield’s readers step into a world largely bounded by New Orleans. The collection of essays explores themes such as the city and its music and, on a more personal level, his father’s decision, as Katrina approached, to stay and protect his house.

On stage, Mayfield can come across as almost bumptious as he loudly and rakishly exhorts his audience to “make some ­noyseee”. Offstage he is more laid-back. We meet before his New Orleans festival appearance and he arrives wearing a white T-shirt, black pants and sunglasses. He’s quietly spoken and measured in his responses.

He recalls that in 2005, as warnings were issued that the hurricane-prone city and surrounding areas were about to feel Katrina’s wrath, he left the city. His schoolteacher mother evacuated but his father chose to stay. In one essay he explains that “people wouldn’t naturally evacuate for hurricanes. The fact that he didn’t evacuate wasn’t much of a big deal. People only evacuated because they didn’t want to experience discomfort.

“It was only later on that people recognised that this hurricane was something different.”

At a previous festival, Mayfield dedicated a song to his father’s memory — a song his father had taught him. It was a poignant moment when he explained it was all he had to remember him by: “I meant I didn’t have anything in terms of mementos because my mother’s house was completely destroyed by water from the hurricane,” he says.

He describes his father as an ordinary man who worked in the post office and who, like many people in New Orleans, was an amateur musician. “He played in high school. He played in the same high school the Neville Brothers went to.” Referring to the song he dedicated to his father, he says, “Actually it was Just a Closer Walk with Thee, which was the first song I learned to play. He taught me that.” After that performance, he says, “I retired it.” There is no mistaking the emotion behind those few words.

Katrina was a “major natural disaster or major natural phenomenon that turned into the biggest man-made disaster in American history”, he says, referring to the failures of the emergency response system. But he believes it is important to move on: “It is the resilience that people show towards their place that is the true spirit of a place and a people.”

For their Katrina commemoration, Mayfield and Bridgewater have opted to celebrate the history of New Orleans music through imaginative arrangements of songs identified with the city, such as What a Wonderful WorldBig Chief and St James Infirmary. The music is to be released on a CD titled Dee Dee’s Feathers, a reference to the tradition of dressing up in feather costumes by the city’s Mardi Gras Indians.

The genesis of Mayfield’s collaboration with Tennessee-born Bridgewater goes back six years to when Mayfield was artistic director of the Minnesota Orchestra. He hired her for a concert series and there was an instant musical spark between them. For Bridgewater, as for Mayfield, the trumpet informs her musicianship. In her improvisations, she uses her voice to emulate a trumpet and the sounds, growls, shadings and rhythmic phrasings it can conjure.

Dee Dee Bridgewater, Irvin Mayfield and the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra are at City Recital Hall, Sydney, June 6; and Arts Centre Melbourne, June 7.

New Orleans Jazz Orchestra Reaffirms Commitment to the Central City Community

posted May 12, 2015, 7:58 PM by Tulani Bridgewater


New Orleans, LA. (May 12, 2015) The Board of Directors of the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra (NOJO) is comprised of volunteers whose mission is the preservation of Jazz for future generations. Upon careful consideration of concerns raised about financial connections between NOJO and the New Orleans Public Library Foundation (NOPLF), the NOJO Board voted on Tuesday, May 12, 2015, to reimburse NOPLF for contributions provided to NOJO.


NOJO and its Board of Directors are disappointed in misperceptions about the appropriateness of a relationship between a public library and a musical heritage, cultural and performing arts center. However, it is critical to our Board and to our artists to remedy any misperceptions and we unanimously chose to aggressively move forward today, return the dollars from the library foundation and immediately refocus on our mission to put jazz musicians to work, celebrate our culture, and travel the world promoting New Orleans and performing jazz music.

Despite returning the dollars to the library foundation, NOJO, its artists and its Board of Directors remain committed to providing access for the entire community, our children and especially to the citizens living in Central City. Peoples Health New Orleans Jazz Market offers unique access to books, archival materials, recordings, digital media, and Internet that teaches our musical history and cultural heritage around the Jazz art form to which our city gave birth.

NOJO remains steadfast in its commitment to ensure the Jazz Market is a public space that provides programs and resources to spur the economic revitalization and social progress of Central City. As such, NOJO will continue to move forward with a variety of education, arts and culture, and economic development programs for the community.

About the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra (NOJO)

NOJO creates Jazz to enhance life, transform place, and elevate spirit through the tenets of truth, love and beauty. Founded in 2002, NOJO is the first and only performing arts institution committed solely to the development of an Industry for Jazz in the city that created the music. For more information, please visit and


Grammy Award –Winning Jazz Musician to Serve as the Apollo Theater Jazz Artist in Residence

posted Apr 3, 2015, 7:35 AM by Tulani Bridgewater

Grammy Award –Winning Jazz Musician to Serve as the Apollo Theater Jazz Artist in Residence, Create New Works, Curate Education Programs, and Major Annual Presentations, Cultural Activities in New York and New Orleans 

Partnership Reflects the Apollo Theater’s Growth as a Non- Profit and Major Cultural Institution and Extends Its Commitment to Showcasing and Supporting Emerging Artists

New York, NY, April 3, 2015 - The Apollo Theater announced today its new artistic partnership with renowned jazz musician Irvin Mayfield and the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra, which will include a range of major contemporary annual themed events and programs that will celebrate the origins of jazz, the continued innovations within the genre and build a younger audience for the art form. Under the multi-year partnership Mayfield will serve as Jazz Artist-in-Residence actively overseeing multiple presentations on the Apollo’s Mainstage, Soundstage space and in New Orleans at Irvin Mayfield and the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra’s new home, The Peoples Health New Orleans Jazz Market. The partnership will include newly commissioned works by the Grammy Award–winning musician; a special New Orleans-themed concert in October 2015; an extension of the Apollo Music Café series with presentations in New York and New Orleans; a celebration of the city of New Orleans’ tricentennial in 2018; education and cultural activities; and a book signing.

The new partnership reflects the Apollo’s continuing growth as a major cultural institution, as well as the Theater and Mayfield’s commitment to showcasing and supporting emerging artists.

“The Apollo always seeks initiatives and programs that extend our commitment to supporting emerging and established artists and engaging its legacy to inform contemporary artistic expression,” said Mikki Shepard, Apollo Executive Producer. “We are thrilled to welcome Irvin Mayfield as Jazz Artist in Residence and the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra to the Apollo family through this partnership that will lead to the creation of exciting new works and a deeper engagement with our artists and audiences.  Irvin’s commitment to supporting emerging artists and creating events that attract a younger audience is in sync with the Apollo’s goals and makes him the perfect artistic partner. 

“The Apollo Theater is an American treasure, and Jazz is America’s indigenous art form. To develop such a unique partnership with this iconic institution is a major step for NOJO and our new home, the Peoples Health New Orleans Jazz Market,” said Irvin Mayfield. “I look forward to sharing more of New Orleans with Harlem, and more of Harlem with New Orleans.”

This new partnership revitalizes the relationship between the Theater and the jazz musician, which began in October 2014. Mayfield was on hand to induct Louis Armstrong into the Apollo Walk of Fame, during the New Orleans to Harlem Jazz Weekend. The ceremony kicked off a weekend of multiple sold-out performances, curated by Mayfield and featuring contemporary jazz artists, such as Jonathan Batiste and Stefon Harris.

A native New Orleanian, Mayfield founded the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra (NOJO) in 2002 and today serves as its artistic director. Under his direction the 18-piece orchestra won the 2010 Grammy Award for Best Large Jazz Ensemble for its album Book One and recently completed construction on the first space built specifically for Jazz in the city that created the music – The Peoples Health New Orleans Jazz Market.

About the Apollo Theater

The Apollo is a national treasure that has had significant impact on the development of American culture and its popularity around the world.  Since introducing the first Amateur Night contests in 1934, the Apollo Theater has played a major role in cultivating artists and in the emergence of innovative musical genres including jazz, swing, bebop, R&B, gospel, blues, soul, and hip-hop.  Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Billie Holiday, Sammy Davis, Jr., James Brown, Michael Jackson, Bill Cosby, Gladys Knight, Luther Vandross, D’Angelo, Lauryn Hill, and countless others began their road to stardom on the Apollo’s stage.

The Apollo is a presenting organization that also produces original, groundbreaking programs at its legendary home and makes them available to audiences nationally and globally through touring projects and digital media. Through its civic, educational and public programs, the Apollo also serves as a community gathering place and resource by building knowledge, providing career development opportunities, and addressing issues that affect its community and American society and culture.

The Apollo will continue to present historically relevant presentations, as well as more forward-looking, contemporary work. The Apollo Theater’s new artistic vision - music is the foundation and the Theater’s programs build upon its living legacy to nourish its ongoing development.  Music also drives the works in dance, theater, and performance art events. 

The Apollo’s programming celebrates and re-envisions the Theater’s legacy in creative and contemporary ways and provides an unparalleled resource for the nurturing of emerging artists and curators, promoting intimate and engaging experiences that dynamically connect both artists and audiences.  Also central to the Theater’s mission is: to encourage experimentation and new artistic directions by mid-career and established artists; developing and presenting new and cutting edge multi-disciplinary work and to nurture culturally diverse artists and audiences.

Based on its cultural significance and architecture, the Apollo Theater received state and city landmark designation in 1983 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. For more information, visit .

About Irvin Mayfield

Irvin Mayfield, 37, is a Grammy and Billboard Award-winning artist with 15 albums to his credit. Mayfield is the founding Artistic Director of the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra and a professor at the University of New Orleans, where he also serves as Director of the New Orleans Jazz Institute. In 2009, Mayfield entered into a historic partnership with the Royal Sonesta Hotel and created Irvin Mayfield’s Jazz Playhouse, which brought "Jazz back to Bourbon Street" in the historic French Quarter. Mayfield was nominated to the National Council on the Arts by President George W. Bush and was subsequently appointed to the post by President Barack Obama in 2010. Mayfield also received The Chancellor’s Award from the University of New Orleans (the highest ranking award given to a professor) in 2010 and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Dillard University in 2011. 
A passionate advocate for New Orleans and for the arts, Mayfield is Chairman of the Board for the Soledad O'Brien & Brad Raymond Foundation, as well as the New Orleans African American Museum of Art, Culture and History. He is also Chairman Emeritus of the New Orleans Public Library and serves on the boards of Louisiana State University’s Department of Psychiatry and Health Science, the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation, the New Orleans Police and Justice Foundation, Tulane University’s School of Architecture, Unity of Greater New Orleans, the Urban Libraries Council, and the Youth Rescue Initiative. 

About the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra (NOJO)

NOJO creates Jazz to enhance life, transform place, and elevate spirit through the tenets of truth, love and beauty.  Founded in 2002 by trumpeter, composer, arranger, and bandleader Irvin Mayfield, NOJO is the first and only performing arts institution committed solely to the development of an industry for Jazz in the city that created the music.  For more information, please visit

Press Contacts:

Apollo Theater
Nina Flowers | | 212-531-5334

Irvin Mayfield and The New Orleans Jazz Orchestra
Stephanie Mayne | | 504.377.7403

Irvin Mayfield - New Orleans Jazz Playhouse Book

posted Mar 22, 2015, 10:29 AM by Tulani Bridgewater

Irvin Mayfield - New Orleans Jazz Playhouse

Dee Dee Bridgewater with Theo Croker and #DVRKFUNK at The Blue Note NY

posted Mar 9, 2015, 9:29 PM by Tulani Bridgewater

Jazz legend Dee Dee Bridgewater, Theo Croker at Palladium

posted Feb 20, 2015, 5:42 PM by Tulani Bridgewater

Posted: Friday, February 20, 2015 2:09 pm

By LESLIE L. FULLER @IndyJazzBelle | 0 comments

Indiana music lovers have the chance to hear legendary singer Dee Dee Williams Friday, Dec. 20 at the Palladium in Carmel, as she pays tribute to another jazz legend— Ella Fitzgerald.

Appearing with Bridgewater is jazz-trumpeter and Afro-physicist Theo Croker, the grandson of the late Grammy-award winner Doc Cheatham.

Bridgewater told the Indianapolis Recorder Newspaper in a phone interview that she's missed Naptown.

"It's been a minute and I'm very excited to come back, I love it," said Bridgewater. "I usually perform at the Madame Walker Theatre."

Besides the venue at the brand-new Palladium in Carmel, the concert will be a departure from the contemporary jazz that she and Croker usually perform, Bridgewater said.

"It's our very first traditional jazz concert," she said. "We've been doing more modern work, this is going to be interesting! I was asked specifically to do the Ella Fitzgerald (tribute)."

"I'm going to fly into Indianapolis, rehearse with Theo, and perform," said Bridgewater confidently. 

Using music from her double Grammy Award winning CD, "Dear Ella", Bridgewater will perform the songs of the great jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald. Bridgewater garnered two Grammy Awards for “Best Jazz Vocal Performance” and “Best Instrumental Arrangement with Accompanying Vocals” for this music.

Bridgewater won a 1974 Tony Award as Glinda the Good Witch in “The Wiz.” Other theatrical credits include leads in “Sophisticated Ladies” “Cosmopolitan Greetings,” “Black Ballad,” “Carmen,” “Cabaret” and as Billie Holiday in “Lady Day”... for which she was Olivier Award nominated as Best Actress.

She is also a United Nations Ambassador for the Food and Agriculture Organization.

For more information about the performance and to buy tickets, visit or call the box office at (317) 843-3800.

Dee Dee Bridgewater | My World - Songlines Feature Article

posted Feb 9, 2015, 1:40 PM by Tulani Bridgewater

1-10 of 15