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Live Today by Derrick Hodge
Released: Aug 2013
Label: Blue Note
In which Robert Glasper's bassist lays out his own modern jazz-conceptualist chops -- with an album full of soul ("The Real"), some post-hip-hop production textures ("Table Jawn"), and arrangements that show the influence of trumpeter Terence Blanchard ("Gritty Folk"). There's also a hint -- not too much -- of pop-hookiness ("Message of Hope"), though Hodge has the courage to admit only two guest vocalists on this radio-friendly set. (Common's appearance, on "Live Today," is as bland as the clichéd title, but doesn't derail things.) And yes, the rhythms work hard, too ("Anthem in 7").
Seth Colter Walls

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