Derrick Sanderson's Soul Expression
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Derrick Sanderson's Soul Expression


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The best kept secret in music


"Will Save Your Soul?"

Locals Only: Who Will Save Your Soul?

This looks like a job for ... Derrick Sanderson's Soul Expression!

Interview By Dale Johnson

March 24th, 2004
Derrick Sanderson's Soul Expression

As most know, Cincinnati has a rich history of Rhythm & Blues and Soul music. There's King Records and James Brown's session there in the label's heyday. Every summer, for 40 years (until 2002), Cincinnati was Jazz, R&B and Soul central when it hosted a huge Jazz and Soul festival (variously known as the Ohio Valley Jazz Festival, Kool Jazz Festival and Coors Light Jazz Festival through the years) at Riverfront Stadium.
But King Records is long gone. James Brown has been sent to jail repeatedly. The Jazz and Soul festival moved to Detroit due to sponsorship problems stemming from the boycott of Cincinnati over racial issues. And, while Cincinnati has a thriving music scene, the Soul scene is largely nonexistent or so far underground that you really have to work to find it. Derrick Sanderson's Soul Expression is here to put the soul back into the city. And not a moment too soon.

"People that are doing original R&B really don't have venues to play R&B in right now," says lead vocalist and the band's namesake Derrick Sanderson. "I can't imagine that we're the only people doing it. There must be hundreds of people out there doing it. You just don't hear about them."

Initially forming in October of 2002 and solidifying into its present form in June 2003, the band comes from a diverse pool of bands, acquaintances and relations. Sanderson (vocals) used to be the singer for Super Ghetto Porshe. Chris Verbanic (drums) is also in Hyde Park Outrage, among other bands. Chris Comer (keys) worked with Sanderson in the past in Comer's former band, The Fabulous Marvel B's. Recent addition Forrest Berry (backing vocals) married into Sanderson's family. And Chris Walker (bass) is nearly a Cincinnati legend for his sideman work with too many bands to list and for his leadership roles in the now defunct Heavy Weather and the very active Walker Project (both with sister Carole).

Derrick Sanderson's Soul Expression first began as a collaboration between Comer and Sanderson. "I'd always been in Rock bands and 'white boy' Funk bands or whatever you want to call them," says Comer. "But Derrick and I started writing some songs together on the piano and it got to the point where (we thought), 'It's time to have (a) band.' Then I called (Verbanic and Walker) up. At first, we thought we'd just flesh some songs out, but immediately it felt like a band."

Validating how immediately it "felt like a band," DSSE was selected to play last year's MidPoint Music Festival, the group's first "real" gig. Their selection probably owed a great deal to the musical expertise of musicianship as well as the presence and voice of Sanderson, who is a classic, sexy, charismatic Soul frontman in the tradition of Marvin Gaye and Sam Cooke. Sanderson numbers Michael Jackson (with the Jackson 5), Stevie Wonder, Donnie Hathaway and The Stylistics among his influences.

"I've seen just about every type of Soul singer," Sanderson says. "I went to the Coors Light Jazz Festival, went to concerts and I watch how the singers move, how they hold the microphone ... I just picked it up."

Given the previously mentioned perceived lack of venues for Soul music, what does DSSE see themselves doing down the road?

"We're not looking to do a lot of gigs locally," says Comer. "I think we're looking to finish or polish up some kind of recording project and then see where that takes us. So don't look for the Soul Expression to play a gig once a month. We will do some gigs. But I don't think that this band is the right band to do that within this market. Cincinnati claims to have this R&B tradition ... but there's no local scene (for Soul music)."


For more information about DERRICK SANDERSON'S SOUL EXPRESSION, check their band page at - City Beat


Currently the group is recording it’s 1st full length CD that is set to be released to the public the spring of 2005. Derrick Sanderson’s Soul Expressions mix of new and old school rhythm and blues is the next chapter in Cincinnati’s long tradition of great R&B music.


Feeling a bit camera shy


The Music of Derrick Sanderson’s Soul Expression has been compared to a cool breeze on a hot summer Saturday afternoon. A mix of contemporary and old school rhythm and blues, Derrick Sanderson’s Soul Expression takes you away from the pain and politics of the world for a little while and soothes the soul with tight grooves and crooning vocals that springs to mind heralded names like Marvin Gaye, Sam Cook and Curtis Mayfield.

Formed in the late fall of 2002, Derrick Sanderson’s Soul Expression is led by vocalist Derrick Sanderson (Super Ghetto Porsche), with Chris Comer on Keyboards (Rick Hickey and the Loose Wrecks), Chris Walker on bass (The Walker Project, Whitney Barricklow) and drummer Chris Verbanic (Hyde Park Outrage).The recent addition of Forrest Berry has helped solidify the bands sound adding strong background harmonies. Chris Comer's Fender Rhodes Electric Piano lays the basis for the group's sound, with the warm, rich tones only a Fender Rhodes can provide. Supported by the chest pounding tight rhythm section of Verbanic and Walker, Derrick Sanderson has the perfect platform to lament of loves and loss.

2004 - Nomminated Best Funk/R&b Group
Cincinnati Entertainment Awards
2004 - Mid Point Music festival Showcase Artist
2003 - Mid Point Music festival Showcase Artist