Mr. Whitaker...plays with depth and resonance and constant swing.
Legendary bassist Rodney Whitaker has been a celebrated force in Michigan's jazz eco-system since returning to develop the world-class program at Michigan State University. Active with numerous jazz legacy institutions, Whitaker has spent five-years as Artist in Residence with the historic Christ Church Cranbrook near Detroit, where its wide-ranging arts and community offerings has afforded Whitaker and choir director Christopher Wells to collaborate, providing rich opportunities to bring together the worlds of jazz and traditional choir music. This recording documents their long-running Sacred Jazz Concerts and features preeminent jazz vocalist Vanessa Rubin, with Whitaker's sextet and the Church's choir, performing arrangements of hymns, Christmas favorites, and jazz standards of the season, including Mel Torme's "The Christmas Song" and Vince Guaraldi's "Christmas Time is Here."
1. Personent Hodie 6:04
2. The Christmas Song 4:58
3. In the Bleak Midwinter 4:57
4. We Three Kings 4:42
5. I Love the Winter Weather 2:56
6. Christmas Time is Here 3:14
7. Winter Wonderland 8:55
8. O holy Night 5:38
9. A Child is Born 4:56
10. My Favorite Things 4:49
11. It's Easy to Blame the Weather 4:53
12. Little Drummer Boy 5:40
13. Silent Night 4:32
14. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas 5:22
Timothy Blackmon - Trumpet
Len'I McKinney - Baritone & Alto Saxophone
Chris Glassman - Bass Trombone
Rick Roe - Piano
Rodney Whitaker - Bass
Michael Reed - Drums
Vanessa Rubin - Vocal (2,6,9,10,14)
Rockelle Whitaker - Vocal (4,12)
Christopher McDole - Vocal (5,11)
Tom Shilakes - Vocal (3)
Marc Meyers - Vocal (8)
Kate Lucander - Vocal (13)
Christ Church Cranbrook Choir
Christopher Wells, Director
Executive Producer: The Rev. Dr. William J. Danaher, Jr.
Produced by Rodney Whitaker & Christopher Wells
Recorded & mixed by Corey DeRushia at
Troubadour Recording Studio, Lansing, MI
October 16-17, 2020
Mastered by Jim Alfredson, Lansing, MI
Cover design & layout by John Bishop
Midwest Record (Chris Spector)
This is such a tour de force recording that it's hard to know where to start---and it shouldn't be enjoyed just around Christmas. The bass ace rounds up family and friends, brings in a Detroit crew that is tops at what they do, picks songs that play out the history of Christmas and play the whole thing is a most top shelf way. We need a lot more ...
All About Jazz (Troy Dostert)
4-STARS Bassist Rodney Whitaker has been a huge presence in Michigan jazz for decades, with his leadership of the Michigan State University jazz program complementing his many other projects and giving him the opportunity to mentor upcoming generations of jazz talent. He has become a crucial ambassador for the music as well, with community outreac ...
Jazz Scan (Derrick Bang)
Speaking of music in the church, Christmas-themed jazz worship services seem to be gaining traction across the country. The Rev. Bill Carter, who holds forth at the aforementioned First Presbyterian Church of Clark's Summit, has led his Presbybop combo in a Christmas Eve jazz concert for many years now. A few states west, in Bloomfield Hills, M ...