Full Spectrum: Derrick Hodge Sees Endless Possibilities In Music


Color Of Noize is what someone makes of it,” says bassist Derrick Hodge while discussing his new Blue Note release.

(Photo: Ryan Landell)

“Nothing was written down and that was by design,” he said. “I wanted to avoid the distraction of theory and written notes. I’m gonna play through once, I’m not gonna over-explain; and then, as soon as we get into the song, it doesn’t feel like they’re trying to do what I want them to play. I hear them understanding that I really want to know their perspective on this idea. Owning it.”

He didn’t want his band overthinking it, though; much of the album consists of first takes.

“A lot of stuff you’re hearing, the guys didn’t even know that was going to be the actual take that we did,” Hodge said, chuckling. “We’d finish it and I’d be like, ‘I’m cool, next.’”

In a sense, the notions underpinning Color Of Noize are nothing new. Art being subjective is an idea as old as creativity itself, and Walt Whitman’s boast that he contained multitudes is more than 120 years old (and wasn’t original to him during the 19th century). Yet, Hodge’s synthesis of ideas is refreshing and intriguing.

He also sees incredible potential in it.

“I want, years from now, for there to be a book club on the ‘color of noize,’” he gushed. “Art and spoken-word stuff that has nothing to do with music. I gotta tell you, brother: If, a few years from now, all people talk about with Color Of Noize is, ‘Yo, did you hear that album? They were going for blood and killin’ it! That was cool.’ If that’s all I’m hearing about, then something was missed.”

It seems idealistic, to say the least. But if Hodge’s music can make a blind man see colors, maybe no one can define its limitations. DB

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