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Bassist Rodney Whitaker was among the leading lights of a new generation of contemporary jazz musicians emerging from Detroit. A native of the Motor City, he began playing the violin at the age of eight, switching to the bass five years later after hearing Paul Chambers on a John Coltrane album. As a teen, he joined saxophonist Donald Washington in the group Bird/Trane/Sko/Now!, which also included a young James Carter; he later replaced bassist Robert Hurst in the Terence Blanchard-Donald Harrison Quintet, followed by a three-year stint with Roy Hargrove. After recording with the likes of Blanchard, Hargrove, Antonio Hart, Junko Onishi and Mark Whitfield, in 1996 Whitaker issued his solo debut Children of the Light; Hidden Kingdom followed two years later, and in 1999 the bassist returned with Ballads and Blues. Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow appeared in mid-2000.