Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Odean Pope - Odean's Three (In+Out, 2013)

Tenor saxophonist Odean Pope emerged from the competitive Philadelphia jazz scene to become a long-time member of drummer Max Roach's group as well as releasing a number of albums as a leader or co-leader. On this lean and powerful trio album, he is accompanied by Lee Smith on bass and Billy Hart on drums. This veteran group works very well together, enjoying the space that the trio format offers while fully trusting each other to make the most of the available material. The trio has a special affinity for the blues, as evidenced by "Blues It" which is very inspiring and especially exciting when Pope's tart and explicit saxophone frames an energetic drum solo. "Blues for Eight" has a strong, deep and well built tenor saxophone feature with a compelling narrative moving between freedom and form. Unfussy bass and drum solos are featured before the full trio comes back, growling like a finely tuned muscle car. "12th Night" barrels along with a knotty collective improvisation that is frequently thrilling. The finale "You and Me" is again a potent and gritty improvisation with excellent interplay between the musicians. This was an excellent meeting of three talented musicians playing excellent jazz spontaneously and in the moment. Odean's Three - amazon.com

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