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Odean Pope

Odean Pope

American jazz saxophonist
The basics
Quick Facts
Intro American jazz saxophonist
Countries United States of America
Occupations Jazz musician Saxophonist
Gender male
Birth October 24, 1938 (Ninety Six, Greenwood County, South Carolina, U.S.A.)
Education Conservatoire national supérieur de musique et de danse
Odean Pope
The details

Odean Pope (born October 24, 1938) is an American jazz tenor saxophonist.


Pope was raised in Philadelphia, where he learned from Ray Bryant while young. Early in his career, at Philadelphia's Uptown Theater, Pope played behind a number of noted rhythm and blues artists including James Brown, Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder.

He played briefly in the 1960s with Jimmy McGriff, and late in the 1960s he began working with Max Roach, including on tours of Europe in 1967-68. He was a member of Philadelphia group Catalyst in the early and mid-1970s, and assembled the Saxophone Choir, which consists of nine saxophones and a rhythm section (piano, bass and drums), in 1977. He became a regular member of Roach's quartet in 1979 and recorded extensively with him, in addition to numerous releases as a leader.

Pope has publicly spoken about his bipolar disorder, which he has had for over 30 years.

Pope was quoted in 2001 as saying, "Every time I pick that horn up there's always something that I discover I can do differently if I really seek. If you were on planet Earth for, like, 2 billion years, I feel as though there's always something new that you can find to do. There's no end."


As leader

  • Almost Like Me (Moers, 1982)
  • The Saxophone Shop (Soul Note, 1985)
  • The Ponderer (Soul Note, 1990)
  • Out for a Walk (Moers, 1990)
  • Epitome (Soul Note, 1993)
  • Ninety Six (Enja, 1996)
  • Collective Voices (CIMP, 1996)
  • Ebioto (Knitting Factory, 1999)
  • Changes & Changes (CIMP, 1999)
  • Philadelphia Spirit in New York, (CIMP, 2001)
  • Nothing Is Wrong (CIMP, 2004)
  • Two Dreams (CIMP, 2004)
  • Mystery of Prince Lasha (CIMP, 2005)
  • Locked & Loaded: Live at the Blue Note (Half Note, 2006)
  • To the Roach (CIMP, 2007)
  • What Went Before, Vol. 1 (Porter, 2008)
  • Plant Life (Porter, 2008)
  • The Misled Children Meet Odean Pope (2008)
  • Universal Sounds (Porter, 2011)
  • Odean's List (In+Out, 2010)
  • Odean's Three (In+Out, 2012)
  • In This Moment (CIMP, 2016)

As sideman

With Max Roach

  • Pictures in a Frame (Soul Note, 1979)
  • In the Light (Soul Note, 1982)
  • It's Christmas Again (Soul Note, 1984)
  • Scott Free (1984)
  • Easy Winners (Soul Note, 1985)
  • Bright Moments (Soul Note, 1986)
  • To the Max! (Enja, 1992)
  • Live in Berlin (2010)

With Catalyst

  • 1972 Perception
  • 1974 Unity
  • 1999 The Funkiest Band You Never Heard
  • 2010 The Complete Recordings, Vol. 1
  • 2010 The Complete Recordings, Vol. 2

With others

  • 1972 Catalyst, Eddie Green
  • 1986 Music World, Jamaaladeen Tacuma
  • 1992 Seeking Spirit, Bobby Zankel
  • 1996 13 Steps on Glass, Sunny Murray
  • 2001 Philadelphia Spirit in New York, Byard Lancaster
  • 2002 Stepping Around the Giant, Carl Grubbs
  • 2006 A Horse of a Different Rhythm, Craig McIver
  • 2008 Let the Rhythm Take You, Monnette Sudler
  • 2009 Blueprints of Jazz, Vol. 3, Donald Bailey
  • 2009 Brownswood Bubblers Four, Gilles Peterson
  • 2009 Impressions of Coltrane, Khan Jamal
  • 2012 Matt Covington, Matt Covington
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