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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 clich├ęd title, but doesn't derail things.) And yes, the rhythms work hard, too ("Anthem in 7").
Seth Colter Walls

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