Supergroup is a term that gets used far too easily to describe the assembly of extraordinary individuals. The ’92 Olympic Dream Team with MJ, Magic, Bird (the one who played for the Celtics not the the one who played sax) definitely counts as supergroup. In fiction, examples of supergroups range from The Avengers, The Justice League, to the Fellowship of The Rings. But using supergroup to describe musical ensembles becomes a little bit more difficult. It’s safe to argue that many of the releases that were featured on Revive this past year included a stellar-cast of musicians or in other terms, a supergroup. But what makes an ensemble truly exceptional doesn’t derive from individual accolades, what makes a unit really tick is the level of trust within the group.

Interview: Derrick Hodge Opens Up About Our Point of View

 

Blue Note’s supergroup, Our Point of View is an example of a group of like-minded individuals who operate within a certain level of trust and respect. While it’s easy to look at Our Point of View’s lineup consisting of Ambrose Akinmusire, Robert GlasperDerrick HodgeLionel Loueke, Kendrick Scott as well as Marcus Strickland and surmise that it’s simply a supergroup due to the amazing individuals that make up the band, bassist Derrick Hodge reveals that there’s much more to it than the all-star cast. We recently caught up with the Grammy Award-winning bassist, composer and arranger to get his thoughts about Our Point of View, their upcoming show at Le Poisson Rouge, and Blue Note’s 75th Anniversary.

Revive: How did Our Point of View come about? Whose idea was it?

Derrick Hodge: I’m not even sure whose original idea it was. I know Jason Moran is in there somewhere. A lot of the Blue Note 75th Anniversary concepts came from him. But Vincent Bennett spearheaded a lot of this; he put a set of dates together and really tried to give it life.

Aside from that, everything felt so natural when it did come about. It was like, “Wait… why has this never happened?” It just feels like family and everything is just so natural when I’m playing with these guys because we’re already all friends.

R: What can people expect to hear from all of you collectively this Friday?

DH: A variety of things. They’re going to hear honest takes on things. We’re doing all original music minus one or two songs that we’re just trying to pay respect to Blue Note’s history, spirit and its legacy. We’re all featuring each other’s music. We’re not just going to do random songs and just go crazy on the solos; we’re going to perform heartfelt songs by each person.

So it’ll be a variety of things because we’re going to go through Lionel’s songs, which bring all of his influences. Robert’s music is going to have its influences. Each person brings something very, very interesting to the table. But as far as the way we’re presenting them, it’s not like anyone telling anyone what to do. We’re just playing however we feel to voice that. It’s been really fun man.

R: Each member of Our Point of View has a very distinct and original sound. Is it easier to work with musicians that possess such an original sound?

DH: It is. There’s such a high level of respect that we trust that whatever someone is going to do will be brilliant. There’s no discussion about interpreting the music in that manner. We bring the music, everyone looks it down and we play it. It’s been a different experience for us every night because that’s the way we presented it to each other. It’s not like, “Okay, this is my tune. You play this you play that.” We’re all open to what each member will contribute to our songs regardless of how we played it on our record. So it’s an experience for all of us also because we’re hearing each other do different things in a different way every night.

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R: What do you think that says about Blue Note as a label to give you guys the freedom to truly express yourselves as artists?

DH: That’s probably one of the biggest contributions of Blue Note in this modern era. It’s not by coincidence that it’s all happening under Blue Note. It takes a label that’s willing to pull people together and also will let them be them. For better or for worse, they let us be us. We always hope for better and for better sales. But it takes guts for a person to say, “Let’s sign this person and trust my decision to sign this person and let them do what they do.” So my hat goes off to Don Was.

This also enables each artist to take ownership and pride in being part of the label because it feels like our voice is being captured. That’s why we all did whatever it took to make this happen because it’s really great to part of a legacy like this. It’s not just a cool label that will put out records; it’s a label that will support artists to do things in their own honest way. The cool thing about is that each record that comes out – regardless of what people have done with each other – sounds really [distinct]. Nobody is trying to force anything and nobody is trying to conform to some sort of formula to appease anybody. That’s the biggest compliment to Blue Note and Don and this whole era.

For more information about Our Point of View’s appearance at Le Poisson Rouge on Friday, December 12th, click here. For tickets + info: click here

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