Thursday, November 02, 2006 makes me happy

Playing right now: Odean Pope - Locked and Loaded

Tenor saxophonist Odean Pope has shown up in my house twice recently, in the form of this CD and also as a support player on Max Roach's early '80s album, Chattahoochee Red. My friend Rob told me a couple years ago that if I ever saw a copy of that album to immediately pick it up. So a few months ago, I found a vinyl copy of it at Jerry's. (It probably hasn't been reissued on CD yet, as it was released by Columbia. If it was, probably only appeared in Japan.)

This was a pianoless quartet (except for one song which addsa 88s). And it is the kind of album that, at times, might make you say, "That's Max Roach?!" because it gets a little wild. It starts off with Max playing a solo over excerpts from Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech. This is the kind of thing that only someone with Max's vision and taste could pull off. There's a version of "'Round Midnight" that takes some liberties with the melodic structure and makes it rise above all the other versions of the Monk classic.

Some jazz musicians have been around forever and we kind of take them for granted, not realizing how tremendous they are. Max is one of them. Clark Terry is another. Listen to either of those guys and you will be have to pull yourself up off the floor and say "Goddam" several times. Because these guys play with the kind of excitement and passion that makes you feel glad you're alive to hear this music. And really that's what it's all about: hearing something exciting that makes you glad you're hear to take the time to listen to it. And Max & Clark did an album together about three years ago that proves both are still capable of blowing minds as they reach the eighth decade of their lives.

But I started out talking about Odean Pope. He's truly a tremendous saxophone player. Last year he played on an album by saxophonist Prince Lasha that I reviewed for JazzTimes magazine. This year, JT did a profile on him that coincided with the release of an album by his saxophone choir: three altos, five tenors (not counting guests Michael Brecker, James Carter and Joe Lovano), one baritone and a rhythm section.

The album is called Locked & Loaded on HalfNote and I hope to see it on numerous Best Of Lists this year. I mean, the sound of all those horns together is powerful enough, but you get Lovano, Carter and Brecker tearing up the scenery along with Pope (who's a monster), and you have a pretty good time.


I recently came into a copy of the Go-Go's Beauty and the Beat (which I REALLY wanted for Christmas in 1981, but quickly forgot about soon after) and I decided I LOVE LOVE LOVE the song "Our Lips Are Sealed."

Up until that point I thought it was a catchy little number but a few Sundays ago, I decided it's one of those pieces of pop music bliss. And even though I'm not too keen on the rest of the album, that one song is reason to hold onto it. The same way I'm holding onto the second Fun Boy 3 album because it includes their version of the same song.


Anonymous said...

I'm crazy about that song too. I thought I learned recently (or maybe mis-learned) that the Go-Gos were actually a real band, at least at one time. Since I'd only heard them on my portable radio in elementary school on top 40 or whatever, I'd assumed they were fakey and mfgd. Do you know?
-- Julie M

shanleymusic said...

What you thought they were like the Archies?! Nope, they were real. I remember seeing them on SNL in the early '80s and thinking they were cool. I got to interview their drummer for an InPgh article during their comeback tour. I wasn't really prepared and was nervous, but she said to me, Wow you do a really good job with this. Gawrsh, I thought, and I think my response didn't really make any sense. Oh well. But yes, they were real, go to and you can find out all about them. Apparently they were pretty raunchy on tour.