Life and work
Rodney was already a professional musician at age 15 and worked in the swing bands of Jimmy Dorsey and Benny Goodman, and later with Gene Krupa, Claude Thornhill and 1948/49, in the Woody Herman band. He became known in the environment of the bebop revolution of Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie; he was probably the only white jazz trumpeter who had a definitive interest. With Parker, he played such a major title like Blues For Alice, Si Si, Swedish Schnapps and Back Home Blues. Charlie Parker's band, he was a member of 1949 and 1950. The tours of the Parker band through the American South had as Red (black ) " red-headed albino " go through to get any problems because of strict racial segregation that time. This is impressively shown in Clint Eastwood's film Bird of 1988.
Between 1950 and 1951 he played with Charlie Ventura, then with Oscar Pettiford. To the demise of bebop arrived at Rodney health and drug problems; a large part of the 1950s he spent in prison, disappeared a long time from the jazz scene and worked in Las Vegas as a musician. In 1980 he returned with notable recordings: He played with Ira Sullivan and Charles McPherson, later with Chris Potter, Dick Oatts and Gerry Dial records a. Until the 1990s, he remained active musically.