Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Odean Pope Saxophone Chior - Locked and Loaded (Half Note, 2006)

Saxophonist Odean Pope has talked in interviews about the tough road he has had to travel to get his music documented. But adding James Carter, Joe Lovano and Michael Brecker to the front line will certainly make labels take notice as they did here on this live recording of Pope's mini-big-band. You might think that solos would be the order of the day with these big time egos at play, but it's the ensemble playing that really stands out on a number of the tunes, particularly the ballads. Songs like the opening "Epitome" and "Terrestrial" show the group playing together in a very patient and cooperative way, getting a very lush and full sound and then one of the horns will dart out to make a solo statement. They play well together on the uptempo songs as well, plunging into a wild near cacophony on "Prince Lasha" which pays respect to a little known musician who was a contemporary of Sonny Simmons and Eric Dolphy in the 1960's. "Coltrane Time" also gives everybody a chance to howl getting a group sound that stops just short of the larger John Coltrane ensembles of the mid-1960's. This was a very interesting disc, it would be nice if Pope could get a residency at a club somewhere to really work with a large band and develop new tunes. But in the meantime, we have this very interesting document which should come as a delight to saxophone fans.

Send comments to: Tim