Odean Pope: Odeans List

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LABELS: In and Out
WORKS: Odeans List
PERFORMER: James Carter, Odean Pope, Walter Blanding (sax), Terell Stafford (trumpet), Jeff Watts (drums), George Burton (piano), Lee Smith (bass)


Philadelphian composer and tenor player Odean Pope likes saxophones. So much so he sometimes leads an eight-piece sax choir. But for this outstanding studio date, the former Max Roach sideman has restricted himself to just two of the barnstorming best – Walter Blanding and James Carter – and for balance thrown in a brace of fearsome horn players.

The chemistry between the players produces a magnificently volatile yet melodic music with Pope’s arrangements creating chain reactions and counter reactions in the soloists’ lines. It’s a potent formula, with Carter’s baritone sax providing the elemental pull, Weiss and Stafford scorching overhead. Pope himself 


is a soulful sorcerer, whether playing a multi-layered, rusty toned blues or slipping through spell-binding changes. It’s a mystery why this Mephistophelean jazz musician isn’t better known outside of America’s East Coast. Could be, at the age of 71, Pope’s just coming into his own. Garry Booth