Saturday, September 28, 2013

Odean Pope

Odean Pope?  Who the heck is this guy?  I had to Google ‘im to find out. 
A Philadelphia founding father of jazz saxophone, composer, arranger and educator, Odean Pope. Ephemeral is not typically what one thinks when hearing Odean Pope, described as a “tenor terror” (Jazz Times, 6/06) who is solidly grounded by marbleized harmonies and tones.
That is what his own website says, and who am I to say otherwise?  I chanced upon his entry in the latest Penguin Guide (may its pages be praised) and I was led to The Ponderer, by The Odean Pope Saxophone Choir.  Holy buckets! 
This is one of those recordings that seems to try to squeeze everything you’ve ever loved onto one cd.  From an almost Dixieland chorus to some avant garde squealing, this one has range and a richly deep vein of ore.  It mines that ore with extraordinary power.  Here’s the lineup [from Discogs]:
This is very solid jazz.  Get it for your collection. 

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Some Andrew Hill

I go back from time to time to Andrew Hill.  His marvelous work for Blue Note ought to be part of any jazz collector's treasure chest.  Today I acquired Pax, a fine set with the following lineup:
 Anything with Joe Henderson and Freddie Hubbard on it is worth a listen.  There is a serious intensity to pretty much every note that Hill plays.  He insists on directing your attention to the narrative.  Everything here is good.  I am playing 'Calliope' and 'Eris'. 

I am also playing 'Refuge' from Hill's magnum opus, Point of Departure.  This ranks as one of the most important jazz recordings.  Here is the lineup:
 Those are the usual suspects, along with Eric Dolphy and Tony Williams, two heroic geniuses plucked from the board obscenely early by jealous gods.