RODNEY WHITAKER: Resident Artist. Jazz.

Attend a Rodney Whitaker concert and as a bonus, you can bank on getting a history lesson on whatever jazz piece he is about to perform. For over 25 years, he has taught jazz at Michigan State University so it comes as no surprise that he also uses the stage to educate his audiences about the music he loves so dearly.

Rodney Whitaker is considered one of the leading performers and teachers of the jazz double bass in the world. He has performed and toured more than 100 legendary performing jazz artists, and is featured on over 100 recordings.

His relationship with the Carr Center spans for the better part of 20 years now. He founded our Jazz Education program and the MSU Professors of Jazz ensemble was our resident Jazz ensemble during the formative years. Rodney himself has been the Resident Jazz Artist at the Carr Center for more than 10 years now. Currently, he also serves as artistic director for The Gathering Orchestra, our Geri Allen Fellows, a professional development program for gifted,early career musicians.

Today, as we wrap up our fifth week of Michigan shelter-in-place, how about you go grab something to drink, kick back in a comfortable chair, and let Rodney Whitaker take you on a musical journey to a better time and placeā€¦

The Rodney Whitaker Quintet, featuring Rockelle Fortin, at the Summer Solstice Jazz Festival in 2017, performing.” Squeeze Me

Performing “Willow Weep For Me” with Cliff Monear (piano) and Sean Dobbins (drums) at the Steinway Jazz Cafe in Commerce Township, Mi on June 17, 2015

March 15, 2011 performing “Take the A Train” on the Ralphe Armstrong Show in downtown Detroit with Henry Gibson (keyboards) and Billy Higgins (drums)

The Gathering Orchestra performing “Feed The Fire” by Geri Allen.
The Gathering Orchestra is a two-year fellowship program, under the artistic direction of Rodney Whitaker. The 2019-21 cohort i s our second class of Geri Allen Fellows and is comprised of 3 seasoned jazz veterans and 19 emerging and highly talented early career musicians, ages 18 – 28.

We hope you enjoyed today’s musical escape with the exceptional Rodney Whitaker, Carr Center Resident Artist.

It is our hope that this series of messages and their insights into the artistic excellence of the Carr Center’s leadership is bringing you some joy during these difficult and challenging times.

If you are able, please consider making a donation to the Carr Center to help us offset all our losses during this time. We appreciate anything you can do.