On Work To Do, rhythm section par excellence Carl Allen and Rodney Whitaker tap into their roots and offer an engaging and user-friendly repertoire that includes standards, pop classics, soul music, gospel influences, and post-bop originals...crafting music that keeps listeners tapping their toes, snapping their fingers and generally having a good time." - Audiophile Audition
They've created a 21st century version of soul-jazz." - Detroit Free Press
When longtime rhythm section partners Carl Allen (drums) and Rodney Whitaker (bass) recorded their 2007 Mack Avenue debut, Get Ready, they wanted their past to inform their present. Culling themes from classic R&B, soul jazz, pop and straight ahead styles, Allen and Whitaker created music that found a wide audience who praised the duo for taking them back home." With their new release Work To Do, this estimable Detroit/Milwaukee born and bred rhythm connectiona true rhythm conventionknew they had to let the good times continue to roll.
The Carl Allen/Rodney Whitaker Projectfeaturing Eric Reed (piano), Rodney Jones (guitar), Tim Green (alto saxophone)are set to perform at Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola, Tuesday, November 9 through Sunday, November 14. Set times are 7:30pm & 9:30pm, plus 11:30pm set on Friday and Saturday.
On Work To Do, Allen and Whitaker are joined by a superb cast of musicians arranged in configurations from duo to nonet: George Colligan, piano; Rodney Jones, acoustic and electric guitars; Dorsey Rob" Robinson, B3 organ; Brandon Lee, trumpet; Kirk Whalum, tenor and soprano saxophone; Vincent Chandler, trombone; and Vincent Herring, alto and soprano saxophone.
Allen and Whitaker change up The Isley Brother's classic Work To Do" with a breezy, upbeat swing feel. Donnie McClurkin's plaintively funky Speak To My Heart," is followed by For Garrison (Both)," named for both the great bassist and Whitaker's son, Garrison James Whitaker. It's an impression, really," Whitaker explains. Out of my love and affection for Jimmy Garrison and the fact that I named my son after him."
A week before we began recording," Allen says, I was in Grahamstown, South Africa at a jazz festival. I had been writing for the record, and I wanted to write something to thank the people there. Those cluster chords in the beginning of 'Grahamstown' reflect these kids I saw in the street. They were singing and skipping and playing. They sang as if they were a choir. The last part of the melody is them coming together, reflecting their back and forth dialogue."
As with Get Ready, Allen and Whitaker bring their entire jazz/gospel/R&B performance history to bear in What's Going On," with the excellent supporting cast equally excited to resurrect the Marvin Gaye classic for today's troubled times.
We grew up in the Baptist church, and that has always been a part of what we do as much as anything else," Whitaker says. On Get Ready we played the music we grew up with, Work To Do is a continuation of that vibe."
Rodney and I bring the idea that music still has to feel good," Allen concurs.
Carl Allen is the Artistic Director of Jazz Studies at The Juilliard School, and Rodney Whitaker is the Director of Jazz Studies at Michigan State University. With their exceedingly busy schedules as educators, producers and sidemen, Allen and Whitaker epitomize the album's title, Work To Do. Their shared history and deep respectand their abiding understanding of what constitutes jazzkeeps their partnership and their friendship thriving. Together, they present music that joins past with present, paying respect to masters of the soul jazz, R&B, and mainstream jazz idioms.
Carl Allen/Rodney Whitaker Project
Carl Allen, drums
Rodney Whitaker, bass
Eric Reed, piano
Rodney Jones, guitar
Tim Green, alto saxophone
Tuesday, November 9Sunday, November 14
Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola
Jazz at Lincoln CenterTime Warner Center
Broadway at 60th Street, 5th floor
New York, NY 10023