Carl Allen & Rodney Whitaker
Drummer Carl Allen and bassist Rodney Whitaker make a solid team co-leading this studio date that blends enticing originals with imaginative treatments of two Motown hits. With pianist Cyrus Chestnut, alto saxophonist Steve Wilson, and guitarist Rodney Jones, the band delivers a sauntering, soulful take of Smokey Robinson's "Get Ready," while the brisk romp through Marvin Gaye's "Inner City Blues" features superb solos all around, with both pieces arranged by Diego Rivera. Allen's breezy "Alternate Thoughts" showcases Wilson's exuberant soprano sax and Chestnut's buoyant piano, along with Jones' tasty acoustic guitar solo. Whitaker's "Summer (The Sweet Goodbye)" opens deceptively with a melancholy air before transforming into a driving post-bop setting. Organist Dorsey Robinson is added for two numbers, highlighted by a spirited take of the contemporary gospel hit "We Fall Down."
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 world. He is considered one of the leading performers and teachers of the jazz double bass in the United States. He is also the Artistic Director of the Michigan State University Professors of Jazz, former Artistic Advisor of Jazz @ Wharton Center, Director of Detroit Symphony Orchestra’s Civic Jazz Orchestra and a former member of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. Whitaker received his first national recognition performing with the Harrison/Blanchard Quintet. Now based in East Lansing, Whitaker continues to serve many of the talented in the state of Michigan. His legacy of teaching promises to be distinguished with former students currently performing with jazz greats such as Wynton Marsalis, Dianne Reeves, Pat Matheny, The Count Basie Orchestra and Stephon Harris.