Internationally renowned bassist and Mack Avenue recording artist, 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 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 member of the Jazz @ Lincoln Center Orchestra. Whitaker received his first national recognition performing with the Harrison/Blanchard Quintet.
Building on his Detroit roots and enormous talent, Whitaker went on to earn an international reputation as one of the world's finest jazz double bass performer. He completed a seven-year tenure as bassist with Wynton Marsalis' Septet and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra. He has toured the world over the last twenty-five years, collaborating and performing with legendary jazz artists such as Jimmy Heath, Eric Reed, Cyrus Chestnut, Vanessa Rubin, Kathleen Battle, Dianne Reeves, Cassandra Wilson, Diana Krall, Jon Faddis, Donald Harrison, Terence Blanchard, Rodney Jones, Wycliffe Gordon, Kenny Burrell, Bob James, Benny Golson, Regina Carter, Pat Matheny, Nicholas Payton, Jimmy Cobb, Joshua Redman, Stephon Harris, Johnny O'Neal, Marcus Belgrave, James Carter, Steve Turre, Claudio Roditi, Junko Onishi, Harry Allen, Ronnie Matthews, Chick Corea, Kenny Garrett, Kevin Mahogany, Ingrid Jensen, Barry Harris, Ron Blake, Jeff Clayton, Dana Hall, Gerald Wilson, Sean Jones, Niki Harris, Wessell Anderson, Don Vappie, Johnny O'Neal, Cedar Walton, Renee Rosnes, Randy Brecker, Rickey Woodard, Bobby Shew, Gary Smulyan, Joe LaBarbera, Randy Napolean, Peter Martin, Nnenna Freelon, Donald Byrd, Branford Marsalis, Greg Hutchinson, Carl Allen, Herlin Riley, Jeff "Tain" Watts, Terrell Stafford, Tim Warfield, Bruce Barth, Jon Carl Hendricks, Roy Hargrove, the late greats: Dizzy Gelispie, Mulgrew Miller, Tommy Flanagan, John Lewis, Marian McPartland, Donald Walden, Joe Henderson, Hank Jones, Frank Morgan and Betty 'Bebop' Carter as well as performing with leading symphony orchestras world-wide.
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, Barbican in London, 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 the jazz education department, and has served on the faculties of University of Michigan and Juilliard Institute of Jazz.