I am back from lunch with another milestone birthday musing, this time about yet another undersung hero who is, thankfully, still with us on his big day.
You may not know him, but he's led some pretty central ensembles, and he's played on some pretty badass platters.
He started with Jimmy McGriff in the Sixties, moved on to Max Roach's group, then branched out both on his own and in one of the greatest '70s fusion outfits, Catalyst.
He began recording under his own name in the early 1980s, and hasn't stopped since.
One of a ton of seminal jazz players that hail from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Odean Pope plays one note or one phrase and you hear boundaries being pushed as only he can push them.
Some players have that never-the-same-way-once aesthetic, yet still manage to perfectly transmit the ancient data of The Blues, and this guy is definitely one of them.
I dunno what you'd even call his music... Jazz doesn't cover it somehow. I guess the term Free Funk would apply, but he isn't all skronk, scream & skitter either.
I guess that's how we're supposed to tell the true individuals from the terminally derivative: they get out of bed in the morning uncategorizable and become even less easy to pigeonhole as the day goes on.
We'll celebrate the auspicious occasion -- of someone older who I don't have to put the obit-dates at the bottom for, which I love not having to do -- by sharing this concert I worked on from 1991's Willisau Jazz Festival in Switzerland.
This one was full of digital clipping, but I utilized some Sound Forge Clipped Peak Restoration faerie dust on it and those issues have now been dialed back to somewhere shy of eardrum-shattering.
There isn't much to say about this performance other than all three of them just go entirely, outlandishly bonkers in it. Odean splits reeds at 10 paces, the drummer seemingly never quits propulsing, and the bass player.... well, you're just gonna have to get the show to hear what he's laying down.
Odean Pope Trio
Willisau Jazz Festival
01 Neapolitan Minor
02 bass solo
03 Spanish Love Theme
04 The Garden of Happiness
05 Saxophone Shop, Part 2
06 drum solo
07 band introductions
09 9/4 Going 4/4 Ways
Total time: 1:17:08
Odean Pope - tenor & soprano saxophones, vocals
David Gibson - drums
Gerald Veasley - bass, vocals
master cassette capture of a DRS Radio FM broadcast, remastered by EN
542 MB FLAC/October 2018 archive link
I shall return tomorrow with a real whopper, in celebration of the five-year anniversary of this page, and then again Friday with additional ear-crushing mayhem.
For now, let's give it up for the iconoclastic saxophonist of the hour, Odean Pope... born this day in 1938 and never far from blowing the panels off my roof here.--J.