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.
Odean Pope was with the Max Roach quartet for over 20 years. Though influenced by hard bop and John Coltrane, he has diverged more from Coltrane's powerful legacy than many edgy tenor players. He is one of the most immediately identifiable voices on his instrument because of a rounded, aggressive tone made even harsher (or is it stronger and purer) by limited use of vibrato and dynamics. Especially in this piano-less trio context, the sound will hypnotize or annoy. Either way, it's hard to ignore.
In the darkest days of World War II, St. Peter’s was shrouded in the shadow of the swastika. But even as the Führer surrounded him, the Pope was plotting a secret counter-offensive. Wartime Pontiff Pius XII has been derided for his public silence about the Holocaust. But evidence suggests his silence may have been subterfuge. And the man branded as “Hitler’s Pope” may actually have wanted to eliminate him. Pope V. Hitler is a thrilling two-hour docudrama special that explores one of the least known stories of World War II – the role of the Vatican in the conspiracy to assassinate Adolf Hitler.