Jazz Legend Pope Plays for Free Thursday in Atlantic City
Odean Pope, a master saxophonist, educator, composer, arranger and bandleader who has called Philadelphia his home for a long while, will take the trip down the AC Expressway on Thursday, Aug. 25, for an extended installment of the Jazz on the Beach free music series. The show, including an opening act, runs from 7-10pm.
Presented by the Chicken Bone Beach Foundation and its many generous sponsors, including those who made the Pope show and the Sept. 1 Steve Turre show possible (as the series was expected to end last Thursday, Aug. 22) the free Thursday night jazz series takes place at Kennedy Plaza right on the Atlantic City Boardwalk, and across from historic Boardwalk Hall.
Odean Pope recently played the Cape May Jazz Festival and Atlantic City Weekly spoke to the legendary musician at the time. Here is an excerpt from the story and a link to the full interview:
Although Pope is renowned around the globe for his husky and emotive tenor saxophone playing, his dynamic compositions and arrangements, and his long-standing (and innovative) Saxophone Choir — not to mention his hipper than hip ’70s Philly jazz-funk collective Catalyst — the 70-year-old musician is no stranger to the Jersey Shore.
“I worked in Atlantic City quite a bit,” says Pope during a recent phone conversation. “It was probably the mid-’60s, early ’70s. As a matter of fact, I [sat in] there with Cannonball Adderley — I think that was in the ’60s. I was working in Atlantic City at the time and he was working [there] so he invited me to sit in with him. It was the last large club on the end there — the Wonder Bar.”
It’s amazing that Pope’s memory is so crisp. Having grown up as a young man in Philadelphia — he moved to North Philly at the age of 10 from South Carolina — and stumbling upon the opportunity to play, practice and learn from the likes of fellow young Philadelphians such as John Coltrane, Lee Morgan (who used to play Wildwood a lot during the summers of his early years), Archie Shepp, Benny Golson, Hasaan Ibn Ali and Ray Bryant, Pope’s musical (and spiritual) path has led him to some interesting and beautiful places over the last several decades.