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Mike Pope

Bassist and composer Mike Pope builds significant musical, personal and spiritual bridges between the past, present and future with his third release, Cold Truth, Warm Heart. The new album shows him to be a visionary composer, arranger and bandleader.

The 2014 offering is the first in a decade and establishes a new threshold of leadership for the virtuoso acoustic and electric bassist who has toured extensively with Chick Corea, David Sanborn, Al DiMeola and Bill Bruford, and more recently, Joe Locke and Eldar Djangirov.

Pope’s 2002 album, The Lay of the Land, delivered contemporary straight ahead jazz with help from stellar players: Michael Brecker, Randy Brecker, John Patitucci, Jeff ”Tain” Watts and others. It was warmly received, but tours with other ensembles took up the bulk of his time.

In the last decade, he moved to Maryland, started a family and adopted a more anchored life. Both his personal and professional life bore fruit. He has two lovely children and plenty of new music to share.

“The new album,” says Pope, “was written for the players who were playing it. The idea was to write stuff that was inspired, worrying less about how it would all go together than how it felt in the moment.“ On most compositions, he establishes the subject matter and directs the conversation, while the (recording and touring) musicians contribute superb interaction and improvisation. Pope leaves plenty of space for these world-class improvisers to do what they do.

The stellar touring band includes Eldar Djangirov (piano), Joe Locke (vibraphone), Seamus Blake (tenor saxophone) and Mauricio Zottarelli (drums). All but Djangirov appear on the latest album.

Mike Pope brings an unerring gravitas and steely resolve to every role he plays. Devoid of pretense or ego, his skill on the bass is matched by just a handful of players on the planet.

His newest work exhibits the essence of jazz: rich melodies, lush chords, and sensual rhythms. Others of equal skill and stature surround him; gifted improvisers who surrender to the supremacy of truly inspired music.

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Liner Notes

Bill Bruford: The Summerfold Collection 1987-2008

Read "Bill Bruford: The Summerfold Collection 1987-2008" reviewed by John Kelman


Intrepid percussionist/composer/bandleader Bill Bruford began his career in the late '60s art-rock arena with Yes and, later, King Crimson, but jazz has always moved underneath, like an eddying current. His early recordings, well documented on the companion Winterfold Collection, may not speak the language of jazz, but they possess its spirit. By 1986, Bruford was looking for a new path. Crimson had again dissolved, the 1981-'84 incarnation having provided him with the opportunity to explore nascent electronic drum ...

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Take Five With...

Take Five With Mike Pope

Read "Take Five With Mike Pope" reviewed by Mike Pope


Meet Mike Pope: Mike Pope is a virtuoso acoustic and electric bassist who has toured extensively with Chick Corea, David Sanborn, Al Di Meola and Bill Bruford, and more recently, Joe Locke and Eldar Djangirov. Raised in Ohio by two parents who were both classical musicians and educated at the University of North Texas, Pope came under the influence of legendary saxophonist Michael Brecker and eventually played with him in New York City, as well as with Blood Sweat and ...

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Extended Analysis

Mike Pope: Cold Truth Warm Heart

Read "Mike Pope: Cold Truth Warm Heart" reviewed by John Kelman


Cold Truth Warm Heart isn't Mike Pope's first album as a leader (it's his third), but in the 12 years since The Lay of the Land (Whaling City Sound, 2002), the bassist has, in addition to some serious life-changers, forged a relationship with two musicians of unequivocal significance. First appearing on Joe Locke's State of Soul (Sirocco, 2002), Pope has worked with the superb vibraphonist and equally fine pianist Geoffrey Keezer in the by turns incendiary and profoundly lyrical Joe ...

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Album Review

Mike Pope: Cold Truth, Warm Heart

Read "Cold Truth, Warm Heart" reviewed by Dan Bilawsky


More than a decade separates Cold Truth, Warm Heart and bassist Mike Pope's previous album, but he hasn't exactly been sitting by idly and twiddling his thumbs in the intervening years. His professional life has been filled with high profile work, as he's held down the fort for everybody from vibraphonist Joe Locke to guitarist Chuck Loeb to drummer Bill Bruford during that span of time, and his personal life has seen highs and lows; the birth of his two ...

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Album Review

Bill Bruford / Tim Garland: Earthworks Underground Orchestra

Read "Earthworks Underground Orchestra" reviewed by Sean Patrick Fitzell


Bill Bruford forged his reputation as a relentless pioneer striving to advance the art of percussion. Using odd times and improvisation in rock or exploring with electronic drums, he sought to challenge both his self-expression and the drummer's role. Since 1986, his primary outlet as a composer and bandleader has been Earthworks. What began as an electro-acoustic quartet has become strictly acoustic, bringing him back to his early love: jazz. To celebrate this twenty-year anniversary, Bruford and ...

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Album Review

Bill Bruford / Tim Garland: Earthworks Underground Orchestra

Read "Earthworks Underground Orchestra" reviewed by John Kelman


Although jazz has left behind its America-centricity and become a more international language, a mysterious chasm still exists between the American and UK jazz scenes. For every artist like Kenny Wheeler who has achieved American recognition, a dozen others have not. But with Earthworks Underground Orchestra, drummer Bill Bruford and woodwind multi-instrumentalist Tim Garland narrow the gap, proving that swing is more than a defined rhythm--it's a feel, with an expanding definition.

Bruford's 1980s electro-acoustic Earthworks quartet began a gradual ...

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Album Review

Mike Pope: The Lay of the Land

Read "The Lay of the Land" reviewed by Alexander M. Stern


In a year that has already produced a number of excellent recordings, Mike Pope’s The Lay of the Land may well be one of the best. It’s certainly one of the most exciting new albums this reviewer has heard in a long time. Pope, who excels on both acoustic and electric bass, has surrounded himself with major label talent for this indie label release: both Randy and Michael Brecker make appearances, saxophonist Seamus Blake appears on two tracks; guitarist Mike ...

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”Mike Pope is a real Renaissance man. He is a musician of broad scope and tremendous talent. His virtuosity on electric and acoustic bass is rare even by today’s standards.” —John Patitucci

“Mike has become a fixture on the New York jazz scene. I’ve had the pleasure of playing on his CDs, using him in my band, and recommending him for other situations. He’s an incredible acoustic and electric bassist and one of the few who is comfortable on both instruments while also being a very talented composer.” —Randy Brecker

“If I were going to study improvisation at this point, I’d do it with Mike Pope.” —Victor Wooten

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Photos

Music

Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

Cold Truth, Warm Heart

Nineteen-Eight Records
2014

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Mike Pope: Cold Truth...

Nineteen-Eight Records
2014

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The Summerfold...

KOCH Records
2009

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Earthworks...

Summerfold Records
2006

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The Lay of the Land

Whaling City Sound
2003

buy

The Lay of the Land

Whaling City Sound
2002

buy

Bare Minimum

From: Cold Truth, Warm Heart
By Mike Pope

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