Odean Pope's Saxophone Choir: The Saxophone Shop


The Saxophone Shop


The Odean Pope Saxophone Choir


The Saxophone Shop (Soul Note SN 1129)

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Odean Pope (tenor sax), Gerald Veasley (bass),

Julian Pressley (alto sax), Sam Reed (alto sax), Robert Landham (alto sax), Bob Howell (tenor sax), Arthur Daniel (tenor sax), Bootsie Barnes (tenor sax), Joe Sudles (bari sax), Eddie Green (piano), and Dave Gibson (drums)


Composed and arranged by Odean Pope


Recorded: Brooklyn, September 30 or October 1, 1985


Rating: 91/100 (learn more)

Tenor saxophonist Odean Pope probably reached his widest audience as a member of drummer Max Roach's excellent '80s quartet with trumpeter Cecil Bridgewater and bassist Calvin Hill. Pope has recorded a number of fine albums on his own, however, none more distinctive than The Saxophone Shop by his eight-saxes-plus-rhythm Saxophone Choir. The title track is a vamping, McCoy Tyner-esque Latin-tinged tune, with the eight saxes (three altos, four tenors, and bari) deployed like a big band. It's an very cooking performance from beginning to end. Pope's intricate composition and arrangement requires much precision, and the band is up to the task. The horns are tight, the rhythm section is skilled and forceful. Pope is always an incendiary soloist, and the high-energy rhythm section and backing saxes spur him to creative heights fantastic even by his extravagant standards. The arrangement is well-crafted, the performance inspired. An unusual concept, quite well-executed.

Reviewer: Chris Kelsey

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