Rodney's musical break came in 1969 following a chance meeting with the up-and-coming Bob Marley. At Marley's recommendation, Rodney entered Studio One in Jamaica, auditioned, and well, the rest is well-documented history. It would be several years later -- 1975, in fact, with the release of Marcus Garvey -- that Rodney (along with vocalists Rupert Willington and Delroy Hines) would achieve a degree of international success. With its social messages and steady beats, the record was part dance-hall favorite and part history lesson. (The inner sleeve pictured the trio aboard a slave ship.)
"Marcus Garvey" may be his signature tune, but Rodney has laid down other solid recordings as well. His songwriting still possesses an inimitable spiritual quality as well as a sense of fun. (A few years ago he paid homage to Jerry Garcia, a man he'd never met, on "Play Jerry"). In fact, his hard work paid off earlier this year with his first-ever Grammy win for Calling Rastafari (Heartbeat Records).
Recent gigs have shown Rodney to be in top form as a conga player and vocalist (utilizing a unique, semi-nasal tone that's extremely calming). At the same time, his ever-changing Burning Band is usually a fluid unit driven by punctuated horns and tight guitar licks. Improvisation abounds. So prepare for some serious jammin'.