Primary Instrument: Bass
Derrick Hodge began studying electric guitar at the age of 7, inspired by the playing of West Philadelphia’s Beulah Baptist Church choir’s bassist, Joel Ruffiin. A year later, Hodge switched to electric bass guitar and began playing in the elementary school concert band and orchestra. In junior high, he was introduced to the upright contrabass. At the time, there were no bass instructors so Hodge learned the instrument by using his electric bass technique and by watching the 1st and 2nd violins sitting across from him. And for jazz band, he just played the upright bass as if it were an electric bass, disallowing the lack of instructional resources to be his hindrance.
He considers himself a product of a hotbed of talent from the greater Philadelphia region which had a thriving Gospel, Jazz, Classical, R&B and emerging Hip Hop scene. He also credits mentors such as James Poyser, Jethaniel Nixon, and others throughout his teenage years. Hodge received his Bachelor’s Degree in Music from Temple University Ester Boyer College of Music where he studied Jazz Composition and Performance. He studied acoustic and electric bass privately with Vince Fay. He was also involved in the Temple University Jazz Band and Small Ensemble, conducted by Terell Stafford, and was the first Jazz major to participate in the Temple University Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Luis Biava, and New Music Chamber Orchestra. He was also a student at the Jazz Aspen Snowmass Summer Academy, under the instruction of Christian McBride and Loren Schoenberg.
Along with formal collegiate training and experience, he performed with the Temple University Gospel Choir, among others. Hodge has performed and/or recorded with Terell Stafford, Donald Byrd, Bootsie Barnes, Kirk Franklin, Donnie McClurkin, John P. Kee and the New Life Community Choir, Kenny Lattimore, Q-Tip, Mos Def, Timbaland, Jill Scott, Musiq Soulchild, Gerald Levert, Common, Kanye West, Andre 3000, Sade, Terence Blanchard, Mulgrew Miller, Clark Terry, and others. Aside from Hodge’s performing side, he has always had a passion for music composition. Being granted the opportunities to write for artists in the past has enabled him to be identified as a writer in various genres of music ranging from Jazz and Orchestral Chamber music to Pop and R&B.
Over the past few years, Hodge has been developing his writing skills for extended music scoring and film music. Understudying with Grammy Nominated composer Terence Blanchard, Hodge has been afforded the opportunity to learn about the film industry and writing process. He has also received on the job training while working as an instrumentalist on many of Blanchard’s films including She Hate Me, Waist Deep, and Inside Man.
Derrick’s most recent projects have included production work and orchestrations with Common and Kanye West for Common’s recent album “Finding Forever”, which reached Billboard 1. He is also writing music for two films: “The Army Recruiter” and “Uneasy Listening”. Other recent projects include When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts in which he did additional writing and scoring, as well as Who the $%@ Is Jackson Pollock?, and Faubourg Treme: A story of Black New Orleans, in which he was the music composer. Hodge is now preparing for the premiere of his band at the Bluenote in New York City on Halloween night, in association with producer Jill Newman of Jill Newman Productions.
For his premiere, he will be introducing his ideas and concepts in a more intimate, small group setting. The beginning of a new venture for him, Hodge considers this project at the Bluenote to be the starting point for a lifelong quest to keep music honest, relevant to the people, and uninhibited by genre.