A stone cold master class in a master's works that's so heart felt and spirited it just transcends all boundaries. Killer stuff.
For the second installment of an ambitious five-CD project, undertaken to observe his fiftieth birthday, master bassist Rodney Whitaker convenes a world-class sextet to pay homage to the oeuvre of Duke Ellington. It's a subject that Whitaker came to know intimately during his 9-year tenure with the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, regarding it as his Ph.D in Ellingtonia through performance, deep study, and spirited conversation with Wynton Marsalis and bandmates through those years. With a front line of modern jazz masters - Brian Lynch, Michael Dease and Diego Rivera, the fiery, modern aesthetic of drummer Karriem Riggins, along with pianist Richard Roe and vocals by Rockelle Fortin, Whitaker celebrates the timelessness of Ellington's works by allowing them to live and breathe through the freewheeling, "cutting session" atmosphere he created for the session.
1 Cotton Tail 4:17
2 All To Soon 3:41
3 Take the A Train 5:28
4 Just Squeeze Me 7:01
5 Mood Indigo 6:12
6 It Don't Mean a Thing 4:37
7 Harlem Air Shaft 4:22
8 Do Nothing Till You Hear From Me 4:30
9 Perdido 7:00
10 Azure 4:51
11 Come Sunday 6:14
12 Caravan 5:08
All compositions by Duke Ellington, Tempo Music
Brian Lynch - Trumpet
Diego Rivera - Tenor Saxophone
Michael Dease - Trombone
Richard Roe - Piano
Rodney Whitaker - Bass
Karriem Riggins - Drums
Kavon Gordon - Drums (11,12)
Rockelle Whitaker - Vocals
Produced by Rodney Whitaker
Recorded, mixed & mastered by Eric Wojahn
at Solid Sound Studio, Ann Arbor, MI
November 19, 24-25, 2017
Jessica D. Cowles Photography
Cover design & layout by John Bishop
Midwest Record (Chris Spector)
Released in time for Ellington's centennial plus 20, Ellington proves how timeless his work was. In the hands of a bass ace that earned his Ellington spurs over 9 years with LCJO, he assembles a murderer's row of contemporary players that bust such smoking moves, Ellington will remain relevant for at least another century. A stone cold master class ...
Dusty Grooves (Editor)
A very fresh take on the songs of Duke Ellington – presented here by bassist Rodney Whitaker, with a tight combo sound that resonates strongly with his other great records! The tunes are definitely Duke's, but the presentation is pure Whitaker – hip, soulful, and reworked with nicely contemporary elements – played by a strong lineup that feat ...
Jazz Weekly (George W Harris)
When in doubt, keep with the classics. That's what bassist Rodney Whitaker does in delving into jazz's greatest composer and giving eternal songs a modern touch. Whitaker brings together a strong team in trumpet legend Brian Lynch along wit Diego Rivera/ts, Michael Dease/tb,Richard Roe/p, Karriem Riggins-Kavon Gordon and guest vocalist Rockelle Whi ...
I Dig Jazz (Charles L. Latimer)
If you attend a Rodney Whitaker concert, bank on getting a history lesson on whatever jazz music the bassist's group performs, and as a bonus some comic relief. For 25 years, he's taught jazz at Michigan State University. No surprise, he uses the bandstand to educate audiences, and his kidding them before introducing tunes is a piece of his musica ...
CD Hotlist (Rick Anderson)
Doing an album of Duke Ellington tunes isn't a tough decision, and any number of fine artists have made perfectly lovely Ellington tribute albums. But from the very first track, bassist and arranger Rodney Whitaker makes it clear that while he's operating in a mode of love and reverence for America's greatest jazz composer, he's not going to be a s ...
JazzTimes (Ken Micallef)
This spirited romp by top-tier jazz professionals through the music of Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn is long overdue. Though many pay lip service to their twin genius, the pair seem almost forgotten in popular culture. No massive vinyl reissue campaigns by major labels, no racy docudramas, no Record Store Day limited editions. Bassist and e ...
DownBeat (Bob Doerschuk)
For bassist Rodney Whitaker, making an album is a serious endeavor. "Recordings are diaries of where you are in your life," Whitaker told DownBeat. "But they're also about doing research. And doing research, then being able to communicate and talk about it, that's a beautiful thing for me." That was basically the plan when Whitaker recorded All ...