Born: February 22, 1968 Primary Instrument: Bass, acoustic
Rodney Whitaker is associate professor of double bass and director of jazz studies at the Michigan State University College of Music.
Whitaker is one of the leading performers and teachers of jazz double bass in the United States. He is a member of the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, and received national recognition performing with the Terence Blanchard Quintet. Whitaker has also toured internationally as a featured performer with the Roy Hargrove Quintet. In addition, he has appeared and presented master classes at the International Association of Jazz Educators (IAJE) conferences. Featured on more than 100 recordings - from film to compact discs - Whitaker's film score, China, directed by Jeff Wray, was released on PBS in 2002.
In 2006, he was nominated for the Juno Award, Canada's equivalent to the Grammy, for his work on “Let Me Tell You About My Day,” produced by Alma Records. Whitaker collaborated with musicians Phil Dwyer and Alan Jones on the album, which was nominated for Traditional Jazz Album of the Year.
A proven and committed jazz educator, Whitaker has presented numerous master classes across the nation at locations such as Duke University, Howard University, University of Iowa, University of Michigan, the New School (NY), Lincoln Center, and the Detroit International Jazz Festival. In addition, he is a consultant with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra in the development of a jazz education department, and has served on the faculties of University of Michigan and Juilliard Institute of Jazz.
Whitaker attended Wayne State University, and studied with Robert Gladstone, principal bass with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, and trumpeter Marcus Belgrave.