370

Odean Pope Saxophone Choir: Locked and Loaded

By

Sign in to view read count
On Locked and Loaded, Odean Pope and his saxophone choir offer up lush, drum-tight voicings as gorgeous and rich as any golden age big band section, then shift gear from full-throated crooning to full-throttle blowing with no audible effort. The first two tracks, both Pope originals, set the agenda: the standard-ish ballad "Epitome," which is nearly devoid of improvisation, is followed by the wildly swinging "Prince Lasha," which is just about all improvisation, and free at that. Pope plays both games expertly on tenor and his inspired choices for counterparts—Michael Brecker, James Carter, Joe Lovano—dig down for their fieriest, most liberated and committed work heard in some time.

Compositionally, Locked and Loaded is most entertaining and original on the up-tempo pieces—the aforementioned "Prince Lasha," a strong rendition of "Coltrane Time" and Pope's jaunty "Muntu Chant" are the standout tunes—but 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.

Title: Locked and Loaded | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Half Note Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read The Study of Touch CD/LP/Track Review The Study of Touch
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 20, 2017
Read Another North CD/LP/Track Review Another North
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Gledalec CD/LP/Track Review Gledalec
by John Sharpe
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Flux Reflux CD/LP/Track Review Flux Reflux
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Christmas With Champian CD/LP/Track Review Christmas With Champian
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Harmony of Difference CD/LP/Track Review Harmony of Difference
by Phil Barnes
Published: October 18, 2017
Read "Standard Blue" CD/LP/Track Review Standard Blue
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 7, 2017
Read "Resolution" CD/LP/Track Review Resolution
by Dave Wayne
Published: November 15, 2016
Read "Pekka" CD/LP/Track Review Pekka
by Roger Farbey
Published: May 22, 2017
Read "Where the Blue Begins" CD/LP/Track Review Where the Blue Begins
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: March 7, 2017
Read "Small Town" CD/LP/Track Review Small Town
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: August 4, 2017
Read "The Invariant" CD/LP/Track Review The Invariant
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 22, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.