The first official track from Derrick Hodge’s Live Today—his Blue Note Records debut as a bandleader—is officially here! The bassist, bandleader, and composer has become in-demand through his work with the Robert Glasper Experiment in addition to artists like Maxwell, Common, Floetry, Terence Blanchard, Q-Tip, Jill Scott, and many more. Live Today finds Hodge crafting original compositions with a cohort of collaborators spanning from Experiment members Robert Glasper, Chris Dave, Casey Benjamin, and Mark Colenburg to the legendary rapper Common, keyboardists James Poyser and Aaron Parks, saxophonist Marcus Strickland, trumpeter Keyon Harrold, and even the American String Quartet.
“This whole album was about putting on a composer’s hat,” Hodge explains. “I wanted to be honest and transparent to all of the people who were supporting me and wishing me well. I wanted this album to give them real snapshots of how I felt as an artist at a given moment on a given day. Let them be a part of my journey.”
While the title track “Live Today” featuring Common was dropped back in 2011, the first official single from the fully realized record is titled “Message of Hope” and features Travis Sayles on keyboards and the B3 organ, Mark Colenburg on drums and percussion, and Derrick with the electric bass, lead bass distortion, and synths. Hodge’s bass lines are about as lyrical as they can get as he lays down both the low end and a distorted lead voice later on in the track. Colenburg takes the chemistry the two have formed over the past couple years and matches Derrick beat for beat with the two nearly speaking to each other in song while Sayles lays back in the foundation peppering in his gospel stylings on the keys and organ. Take a listen to Derrick Hodge’s “Message of Hope” below: