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.
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 →
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 →
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.