Odean Pope Saxophone Choir: Locked and Loaded (2006)
Compositionally, Locked and Loaded is most entertaining and original on the up-tempo piecesthe aforementioned "Prince Lasha," a strong rendition of "Coltrane Time" and Pope's jaunty "Muntu Chant" are the standout tunesbut this is pretty much a flawless recording, which is even more impressive given it's from a live performance.
The less-than-famous rhythm section handles its duties with great skill and brio, and there are several other reed players who didn't make the marquis, including the underappreciated Philadelphian tenor master Elliott Levin. All the horn playing is first-rate, but it's Pope's show and he has no fear of the spotlight. His adept solos, plus one by Brecker that sounds as if he gave it all he had, are highlights.
A very lucky Blue Note crowd got wowed by these shows and some angel saw fit to make a top-shelf recording so we could enjoy it in the comfort of our homes. Locked and Loaded ought to make Pope's reputation even stronger and win him a spot on a few top ten lists.
Track Listing: Epitome; Prince Lasha; Cis; Central Park West; Coltrane Time; Terrestrial; Muntu Chant.
Personnel: Robert Landham, Julian Pressley, Louis Taylor: alto saxophones; Elliott Levin, Odean Pope, Terry Lawson: tenor saxophones; Joe Sudler: baritone sax; George Burton: piano; Tyrone Brown: bass; Craig McIver: drums. Special Guests Michael Brecker, James Carter, Joe Lovano.
Record Label: Half Note Records
Style: Modern Jazz