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Roderick Harper, Jazz Vocalist

Chicago Sun-Times writer Lloyd Sachs states that he is, “a smooth and serious singer.” Baton Rouge Morning Advocate writer Rod Dreher calls him, “a very special talent.” Jazztimes Magazine proclaims, “he is an able convert to jazz, when Jon Hendricks invited him on stage for a round of Thelonius Monk’s ‘Rhythmaning.'”

He was born the only child of Dr’s. Ronald and Geraldine Harper, July 20, 1966. Roderick’s has been singing almost as long as he has been speaking. Other than his voice, the first musical instruments he learned to play were the violin and trombone, in Elementary School. In Middle School and High School he picked up the clarinet and guitar. “The first jazz record I actually purchased was Wynton Marsalis’ “Think Of One.” “It scared me and made me curious at the same time, because I had never heard anything like that before.” “The record caused me to take a second look and listen to my father’s record collection.” “I was hooked!” His first formal jazz training came from Sarah Vaughn’s accompanist, John Malachi. He matriculated at Southern University and A & M College in Baton Rouge, Louisiana where he majored in Political Science and minored in Jazz Studies.

Roderick is a native of Washington, D.C. In school, he formed and was part of numerous jazz groups. One of those groups was Alvin Batiste and the Jazzstranauts. This afforded him the opportunity to come to the attention of jazz pianist Ellis Marsalis. With the recommendation of Batiste, Roderick was invited to sing with Marsalis anytime. This led him to land a featured spot in the Ellis Marsalis Quartet.

Being under the experienced hand of Marsalis brought about many opportunities for Roderick to perform with the likes of Jon Hendricks of Lambert, Hendricks & Ross, Betty Carter, Dizzy Gillespie, Wynton, Branford, Delfeayo and Jason Marsalis, Joe Sample, Danny Barker, Kent Jordan, Mark Whitfield, Joe Lavano, Bobby Watson, Marcus Roberts, Cyrus Chestnut, Nicholas Payton, Wessel Anderson, James Carter, The Harper Brothers, Stephen Scott, Brian Blade, Max Roach, Terence Blanchard, The Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, HBO’s “Soul of the Game”, BET Movie, “Blackout”, Hurricane Katrina Documentary, The Unmasking of Katrina” and many others.