Odean Pope

Collective Voices

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Odean Pope has always been about collective voices. First there was the Music Revelation Ensemble playing with Blood Ulmer, then there was his saxophone choir, and the many bands he may have named but played in as a member, not a frontperson. And here, with bassist Tyrone Brown and drummer Craig McIver, Pope is doing it again. If one listens closely to the interplay of the rhythm section in relation to Pope, it becomes clear. He could not solo in quite this way without them, nor they him. But it is in the complexity of his compositions that his true idea of collectivity is revealed. In the two takes here of "You and Me," we can hear how he creates a line and metered statement to be followed and then inverted by the rhythm section. His own chromatics is on display in how he augments the melody but then adapts to the new meter line and follows suit. On "Fourth House," a paean of sorts to perfect, inverted, and augmented fourths, his solo tracks the path of each through a scalar regiment with legato phrasing and segues them, with beautiful cascading triples by Brown, one into another until all three have been present and accounted for. He then takes them out all at once, with lovely chords from Brown and double-time from McIver. Finally, the whispering interplay in minor modes on the ballad "Love Segments" is one of the most intimate and tender expressions the collective voice recorded in years. Here Pope only states his ideas partially, McIver accents those phrases, and they are carried to fruition by Brown in a ballad so liltingly beautiful it almost glimmer with its own soft aura. This is another fine recording from the Cadence Spirit Room in New York.

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