Philly State of Mind: Listen to Derrick Hodge’s guest DJ set on WXPN Local

Derrick Hodge | photo courtesy of the artist

The closing night of this year’s Philly Music Festival might just be the most unique and exciting part of its lineup. Derrick Hodge, a Philadelphia born-and-raised bassist, composer, producer and jazz luminary, curated a night of music called Philly State of Mind, where he’ll perform alongside a revolving cast of his peers and mentors — including James Poyser, a pianist known for his work with The Roots; Eric Wortham, another keys player who has worked with Jill Scott and Adele; Jaleel Shaw, a renowned saxophonist; DJ Rich Medina, one of the best turntablists to come out of the 215; plus a bevy of unannounced guests and surprises.

Basically, it’s going to be a once-in-a-lifetime gig for jazz fanatics, as well as a good introduction to our city’s contemporary jazz lineage for newbies, and Hodge called in to the WXPN Local Show this week to get us hype for the gig with an interview and guest DJ set.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Derrick Hodge at Spruce Street Harbor Park, Amanda X at Space 1026, Maze ft Frankie Beverly at Dell Music Center

Derrick Hodge | photo via artist’s Facebook page

This week’s installment of Spruce Street Harbor Park’s Waterfront Sessions features Philly bassist Derrick Hodge. Hodge takes over the two sets of the night, playing tunes in anticipation of his 2016 release The Second. Find info on the event here, and listen to the title track, “The Second” below. Continue reading →


Spruce Street Harbor Park’s summer concert series includes Donn T, Louie Louie, Cruisr, Derrick Hodge and so many more

roots picnic
Donn T | Photo by John Vettese

Free concerts at the Delaware Waterfront’s Spruce Street Harbor Park have become a highlight of every summer over the past four years, and this year brings one of the strongest lineups yet.

Kicking off on June 1st with Straw Hats and The Retinas, the series runs every Thursday night through August 31st, when it wraps with two sets by West Philadelphia Orchestra. In between, Philly artists like singer-songwriter Donn T, retro rock four-piece Louie Louie, indie pop outfit Cruisr, jazz bassist Derrick Hodge, rapper Chill Moody, rockers Oldermost and more will perform. The shows are all free and open to the public. Continue reading →


Tonight’s Concert Picks: Derrick Hodge at Johnny Brenda’s and Alejandro Escovedo at World Cafe Live

Photo by Chris Baldwin
Derrick Hodge | photo by Chris Baldwin | courtesy of the artist

Philadelphia bassist Derrick Hodge will perform at Johnny Brenda’s tonight with support from DJ Junior. His latest full-length, The Second, dropped last year, and just a few months ago, he performed at The White House as part of Common’s Tiny Desk Concert for NPR. Watch a performance of “Dances with Ancestors” at the Kennedy Center below. Then, head over to XPN’s Concert Calendar for tickets and more information on the show. Continue reading →


Bilal and Derrick Hodge repped Philly at Common’s incredible White House Tiny Desk Concert

Bilal, Common and Robert Glasper perform in the White House for NPR Music | photo by Becky Harlan | via

With President Barack Obama’s South by South Lawn concert going down this week, the folks at NPR Music took a unique angle into their Tiny Desk Concert series. They actually staged and shot a session inside the confines of the White House.

The video, out yesterday, features socially-minded rapper Common, who had a remarkable band backing him up. In addition to acclaimed keyboard player Robert Glasper, trumpet player Keyon Harrold, flautist Elena Pinderhughes and drummer Karriem Riggins, there were two Philadelphia natives in the mix: Derrick Hodge on bass (who just released his great new record The Second) and Bilal Oliver, who Common introduces as “an incredible vocalist, artist, writer, voice and spirit.” Continue reading →


Listen to two songs from PHL bassist Derrick Hodge’s new LP The Second

Derrick Hodge | photo by Chris Baldwin | via

Looking ahead at the album release calendar for the final third of the year, it seems that 2016 is shaping up to have a great autumn in the local jazz scene. Fresh Cut Orchestra is dropping Mind Behind Closed Eyes on Ropeadope (read Shaun Brady’s interview here), Orrin Evans is releasing #knowingishalfthebattle on Smoke Sessions Records (listen to the song “Chiara” here), and then of course there’s renowned Philly bassist Derrick Hodge.

In September, he appears as a player on the much-anticipated ArtScience LP from Houston pianist and producer Robert Glasper – who, while not a local, certainly collab’s with a lot of Philadelphians and has a strong following in the 215. But equally exciting is Hodge’s latest solo outing, The Second, which comes out this Friday, August 26th, on Blue Note Records. Continue reading →


The soulful sophisticated sounds of jazz musician Derrick Hodge (playing Underground Arts Friday, August 9)

Photo by Chris Baldwin
Photo by Chris Baldwin
Producer, composer and bassist Derrick Hodge just released his excellent new album, Live Today, on Blue Note Records. The Willingboro, New Jersery/Philadelphia area native is the bassist for Robert Glasper Experiment. At a very young age, Hodge was inspired by the bassist Joel Ruffin at the West Philly Beulah Baptist Church. From there he pursued a life of music, concentrating on the bass and learning to play traditional and modern jazz, neo-soul, gospel, hip-hop and R&B, as well as composing film scores. He graduated from Temple University’s Ester Boyer College of Music, studied under Terence Blanchard and Christian McBride, was mentored by James Poyser (The Roots) and has performed/recorded with Maxwell, Mulgrew Miller, Musiq Soulchild, Questlove, Q-Tip, DJ Jazzy Jeff, Marcus Miller, Jill Scott, and Common (who appears on Hodge’s album).

The collection of songs on Live Today are soulful, sophisticated, sensual, and thoughtful. It’s as funky as Nas and A Tribe Called Quest and stylistically diverse as Weather Report. Soul and hip-hop rhythmic influences permeate songs like “The Real,” and “Anthem in 7.” Songs like the gorgeous “Solitude” could be a distant cousin to the classic “A Remark You Made” by Weather Report. “Still The One,” (featuring Casey Benjamin on vocoder) is tender and elegant and wouldn’t sound out of place on a James Blake record. The players on the album are fantastically talented. Chris Dave, who plays on most of the record, anchors the rhythm section with all the right dynamics. He’s funky when he needs to be (“The Real” and “Rubberband”), and at other times lets the groove guide at a slower, contemplative pace. Pianist Aaron Parks gracefully shines and Keyyon Harrold contributes trumpet and flugelhorn on the standout “Boro March,” and the quiet tour-de-force, “Dances With Ancestors.” Live Today is a must listen and you can listen to it here in its entirety.

Hodge plays Undergound Arts this Friday evening, August 9. Go here for tickets.

Purchase Live Tomorrow here.


The High Key Portrait Series: Killiam Shakespeare

Killiam Shakespeare | photo by Josh Pelta-Heller for WXPN

High Key” is a series of profiles conceived with the intent to tell the story of Philly’s diverse musical legacy by spotlighting individual artists in portrait photography, as well as with an interview focusing on the artist’s experience living, creating, and performing in this city. “High Key” will be featured in recurring installments, as the series seeks to spotlight artists both individually and within the context of his or her respective group or artistic collective.

Steve McKie and Corey Bernhard have conspired for the past five years on Philly-based collective Killiam Shakespeare. The two manage to leverage life-long musical roots, their own creative chemistry, a deep star-studded creative network and classical instrument training to great effect, marrying diverse influences to build beats and establish unique musical moods.

McKie and Bernhard are gearing up for a big back-half to 2019, including west coast collaborations, new music, and an appearance later this fall at the World Café’s World Jam. They’re kicking it off though at the XPoNential Music Festival this weekend, with an opening night appearance at BB&T Pavilion this Friday. Continue reading →