Internationally renowned bassist Rodney Whitaker currently holds the titles of Professor of Jazz Bass and Director of Jazz Studies at Michigan State University, where he has built one of the leading jazz degree programs and performing faculty in the United States of America. He is considered one of the leading performers and teachers of the jazz double bass in the United States.
Rodney first came to prominence in the jazz world as a member of the Harrison-Blanchard Quintet, which was followed by a seven-year tenure with the Wynton Marsalis Septet and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, with whom he toured and also recorded numerous critically acclaimed albums. Rodney has performed and toured with over 100 noted jazz artists over the past 25+ years, including Jimmy Heath, Cyrus Chestnut, Dianne Reeves, Cassandra Wilson, Diana Krall, Jon Faddis, Donald Harrison, Terence Blanchard, Wycliffe Gordon, Benny Golson, Regina Carter, Pat Metheny, Joshua Redman, Chick Corea, Kenny Garrett and Ingrid Jensen, as well as late greats like Roy Hargrove, Dizzy Gillespie, Betty Carter, Jon Hendricks, Hank Jones and many others.
Featured on more than 100 recordings as both a sideman and a leader, Rodney also co-leads a band with drummer Carl Allen with whom he’s released the albums Work to Do and Get Ready on Mack Avenue. Rodney’s most recent recording, Outrospection, featured the music of composer Gregg Hill, a longtime guest of The Jazz Cruise and other Jazz Cruises sailings. Rodney is a bona fide all-star both on and off the ship.