October 7, 2021
Community Spotlight: Meet Derrick Hodge, Blue Note Recording Artist Performing this Saturday at MCA Denver
This Saturday, October 9, 2021, is the second activation of STAGED: Three Deuces at MCA Denver. A sculptural installation as part of the exhibition Jason Moran: Bathing the Room with Blues, STAGED: Three Deuces is inspired by the legendary Three Deuces jazz club once located in New York City. STAGED: Three Deuces pays homage to the history of bebop jazz in the 1940s and the illustrious musicians like Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, and Max Roach who performed out of the corner of the intimate jazz club. Through January 2022, each second Saturday of the month the installation comes alive with some of Denver’s finest musicians. This Saturday’s performance welcomes two-time Grammy-winning bassist Derrick Hodge accompanied by two-time Grammy nominee Adam Deitch and the amazing harpist/vocalist Annastézhaa Mitchell-Curtis.
Derrick Hodge is a celebrated multi-instrumentalist, composer, and producer. He has three albums on the Blue Note Records label, the most recent of which, Color of Noize, was released in 2020. He is one of the founding members of the Robert Glasper Experiment and has performed, written, and recorded with artists such as Common, Kanye West, Sade, and Herbie Hancock. I had the fortunate opportunity to email with Derrick to learn more about his accomplished music career.
Hi Derrick! How are you doing?
I’m good! Making music in these interesting times, so thankful for that.
How did your career in music begin?
I come from a hotbed of talent in Willingboro, NJ as well as Philadelphia. Some of my early professional work came as a teenager recording albums with producer James Poyser and others from greater Philadelphia. I feel like the career path kind of chose and directed me from there. I’m still that curious mind to this day who wonders how the whole “career” thing happened.
What are you inspired by? How does this show up in your artistry?
Life. People. History and experiences, both personal and of those around me. Honestly, this has inspired most of my creative voice. Shows up in the spirit of the work, not necessarily a specific “sound.”
Your latest album, Color of Noize, was released in 2020. What was the inspiration behind the album?
Color Of Noize is about allowing honest creative moments to be, and be cultivated from a pure space while allowing it to be presented in the world in a way that allows others to embrace the art and allow it to become their story. I’ve been defined in interesting, sometimes contrasting, ways. I decided to create art that allows for the various ways that it can be defined. Ultimately hoping that people just allow it to speak to them in a personal way. Making it their own! This ties into what Color Of Noize is all about.
As a musician, composer, and bandleader, your leadership and guidance see to the success of the music produced. What are some of the guiding principles that you use when leading/collaborating?
I’d say allowing each moment to be its own unique version of beautiful. And me stepping back to identify that and from there help the art of that moment speak in whatever way seems best/impactful. That spirit tends to connect my principles and help me focus, whether I’m performing or writing, or producing.
How has music influenced other aspects of your life?
Good question! Art is definitely life for me, so it’s all one in the same. Life and perspective affect my music, which in return further affects my life and perspective… Somewhere in the middle, music happens!
What is a saying, music verse, quote that has been a mantra in your creativity?
“Never looking back, or too far in front of me. The present is a gift, and I just wanna Be.”- Common, “Be”.
Your artistry has taken you to many places around the world. What brought you to Colorado and living in Aurora?
Putting family first! My Wife is from Colorado so once we had our first child, we decided to relocate to be near family. I love it here, it feels like home. Excited to build here!
We’re excited to have you activate the STAGED: Three Deuces space in the museum. Can you share what the audience has to look forward to with the musicians that will be performing?
It’ll be spontaneous moments of creation, reaction, and musical offering! In honor of our friend Jason Moran who has been a gem to the music scene, I’m excited to visit and give our creative energy to this beautiful space.
What are you looking forward to for the remainder of this year?
Pursuing purpose! Moments like this and many others. Thankful for the journey of the everyday.