6

Odean Pope: Odean's Three

Greg Simmons By

Sign in to view read count
Odean Pope: Odean's Three It's been a banner year for tenor saxophone trios. Not the most common lineup, this challenging ensemble has seen some terrific releases from musicians both famous and unsung, veterans and newcomers alike. Now Philadelphia saxophonist Odean Pope adds his superb contribution with Odean's Three.

It might not be fair to judge any jazz musician by the standard of whether he's become a 'household name.' What's famous among jazz fans—a group dedicated to esoteric musicians if ever there was one— is meaningless within the context of broader popular music. But even among jazz fans Pope deserves wider recognition. At seventy-five years old he qualifies as a member of a select group who, by virtue of longevity, musical vision, and personal style, qualify as elder sages, able to play whatever they want however they want, beholden to no one.

Some musicians reach the point where they transcend questions of skill or intellectual construction. Performances become direct links to consciousness and emotion, extraordinarily pure deliveries of self: think John Coltrane on A Love Supreme, or Lee Konitz's recent introverted wanderings. With Odean's Three, Pope has reached that point of unbridled expression.

Pope is not an easy saxophonist. He's by turns frenetic, strident, and always vigorous, and his horn tone has some sharp elbows. He is not 'creamy and mellow.' Nor is Odean's Three free music, although melodies are long and loose and seem to vary from measure to measure.



Pope maintains context among his fellows, drummer Billy Hart and bassist Lee Smith. They're more like three cats in a closed bag, bouncing around, climbing over each other, straining at their boundaries, but in the end still in it together. This is trio collaboration— heavily, though not entirely improvisational—at its best.



Of course, as a trio, with the saxophone carrying all of the melodic and most of the improvisational duties, it's all about Pope's playing, and his playing is wonderful. Throughout the record he exhibits the ability to challenge the listener with surprising little flakes of creativity in the midst of larger statements. His solos range far and wide, unrestrained by octaves or collaborative tempo, and he fills the recording with volumes of sound. This is creative, powerful jazz: the product of a musician with confidence in his vision and a direct connection to himself.



Odean's Three demands and captures the listener's attention. It's not trying to play to a bigger crowd, or be all things to all people. It's a snapshot of Pope's singular creative aesthetic and it may well be one of the most important saxophone records of the year. Press play, sit down, and take the ride. The journey is most rewarding.

Track Listing: Phrygian A'Trois; Fresh Breeze; The Garden of Happiness; Good Question two; Blues It; Blues for Eight; Almost Like Pt One; 12th Night; You and Me.

Personnel: Odean Pope: tenor saxophone; Lee Smith: bass; Billy Hart: drums

Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: In+out record | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read Ha Noi Duo CD/LP/Track Review Ha Noi Duo
by Ian Patterson
Published: March 27, 2017
Read Like, Strange CD/LP/Track Review Like, Strange
by Geno Thackara
Published: March 27, 2017
Read Coalesce CD/LP/Track Review Coalesce
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: March 27, 2017
Read Il sistema periodico CD/LP/Track Review Il sistema periodico
by Nicola Negri
Published: March 27, 2017
Read Code Noir CD/LP/Track Review Code Noir
by James Nadal
Published: March 27, 2017
Read Welcome to Swingsville! CD/LP/Track Review Welcome to Swingsville!
by Jack Bowers
Published: March 26, 2017
Read "Lea Áigi" CD/LP/Track Review Lea Áigi
by Mark Sullivan
Published: December 23, 2016
Read "Sunrain" CD/LP/Track Review Sunrain
by Geno Thackara
Published: November 25, 2016
Read "Flowers" CD/LP/Track Review Flowers
by Mark Corroto
Published: September 19, 2016
Read "Sounds Of 3" CD/LP/Track Review Sounds Of 3
by Mark Sullivan
Published: August 17, 2016
Read "Cuong Vu Trio Meets Pat Metheny" CD/LP/Track Review Cuong Vu Trio Meets Pat Metheny
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 5, 2016
Read "Forgiveness Suite" CD/LP/Track Review Forgiveness Suite
by John Sharpe
Published: November 15, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!