Jazz Album of the Week: Derrick Hodge Uses Old-School Sessions to Make Modern Music

Jul 13, 2020

July 13, 2020. Back in 2007, the Philly jazz scene was excited for the young homegrown bassist who was on Terence Blanchard’s Grammy-nominated album A Tale of God’s Will. That bassist, Derrick Hodge, went on to play with big names in the Neo Soul and R&B scene, and other jazz greats like Mulgrew Miller and Robert Glasper. Hodge put all of this experience together, and came out with Color of Noize, his first release (as a leader) to use a live jazz band throughout.

Along with the bass, Hodge supplies some keys, voice, and guitar to this project, and he brought in a brand new band to go along with this new concept of music that eludes categorization. They had never played together before, and Hodge only did previewed the tunes on piano once before it was time to record in a Blue Note Records ession that he likens to “A Blue Note session at Rudy Van Gelder’s studio in the mid-sixties.”

The old school feel of the sessions (two, to be exact), led to a modern sound that really lets the band members pour themselves and their musical experiences into these compositions. This is a very plugged-in recording, boasting two keyboardists (Jahari Stampley and Michael Aaberg) and DJ Jahi Sundance on the turntables. There are also two drummers (Mike Mitchell and Justin Tyson) who both lay it all out on the table on the title track of the album.

While listening to Color of Noize, you can here the Mulgrew influence, the Glasper influence, the Blanchard influence. You can feel the Neo Soul, the R&B and the jazz. The music makes the configuration make sense, and the self-expression coming from each musician makes the music, and the concept, make sense. It shows that Derrick Hodge’s career is coming full-circle, and the Temple grad is the big name now.