Derrick Hodge – The Second (2016) [AcousticSounds FLAC 24bit/96kHz]

Derrick Hodge – The Second (2016)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/96 kHz | Time – 53:36 minutes | 1,08 GB | Genre: Jazz
Studio Master, Official Digital Download – Source: AcousticSounds | Artwork: Front cover | © Blue Note Records

Derrick Hodge’s sophomore album for Blue Note Records which finds the 2-time GRAMMY-winner taking on the roles of producer, composer and multi-instrumentalist to present a singular vision. The results are once rich, raw and revelatory, with Hodge forgoing a conventional band approach and instead playing all of the instruments and contributing vocals himself with only a few exceptions – drums from Mark Colenburg on three tracks and one track featuring horns performed by trumpeter Keyon Harrold, trombonist Corey King, and tenor saxophonist Marcus Strickland.

The Second builds on the genre-blurring foundation Hodge laid on Live Today, but contrasts with it as well. His attraction to cinematic soundscapes remains evident but there’s a deeper focus on delivering more immediate melodies here. He has chosen – for the most part – to keep his own counsel here, and he plays all instruments on nine of these 12 tracks. The title track (and first single) is one of three to feature Mark Colenburg on drums. The snare, hi-hat, and cymbal grooves frame a bittersweet melody with a gospel vibe alternately articulated by electric bass, guitar, and acoustic piano. A synth backdrop assumes personas of horns and strings. Syncopated breaks and a B-3 wind around the guitar solo in the bridge. “Song 3” is a lovely ballad. Scored for bass, piano, drums, and ambient atmospherics, the melody is delivered via a treated bassline and rhythm tracks in waltz time punctuated by flute fills, as backmasked production effects add layers of texture. “World Go Round” is a dexterous bass jam that weaves jazz, country, and funk atop fingersnaps and hand percussion. “Underground Rhapsody” places Colenburg’s snare breaks alongside bluesy guitar fills, a pulsing keyboard vamp, and a rumbling bassline, all appended by harp samples. It recalls the Glasper band’s swelling live jams. “Clock Strikes Zero” weds vintage Kraftwerk-esque electro to contemporary jazz with layers of echo surrounding the distorted bassline. The horn section of trumpeter Keyon Harrold, saxophonist Marcus Strickland, and trombonist Corey King – who all appeared on Live Today – return on “For Generations,” the only straight-up jazz tune. Its slow stroll weds progressive swing and New Orleans R&B. Hodge employs his electric and upright basses, providing exceptional harmonics and rhythmic extension. “Going” is a slinky groover with synths and harpsichord set against a breezy, smooth, jazz-funk chart highlighted by Colenburg’s taut breaks and Hodge’s fluid, sexy bass. “From Me to You” is a sparsely adorned folk-jazz ballad with Celtic overtones. Acoustic piano, ambient sounds, and string effects support his gentle tenor vocal in delivering the tender lyric. On The Second, Hodge’s disciplined arrangements make convincing use of all the instruments he plays, creating a smooth flow throughout. His compositions are no less ambitious, even if they are more readily accessible. This album is a more holistic endeavor and, while a tad more laid-back, is utterly lovely in conception, production, and execution.

01 – The Second
02 – Transitions
03 – Song 3
04 – You Believed
05 – World Go Round
06 – Heart Of A Dreamer
07 – Underground Rhapsody
08 – Clock Strike Zero
09 – For Generations
10 – Don Blue
11 – Going
12 – From Me To You