Odean Pope

Odean Pope (born October 24, 1938) is an American jazz tenor saxophonist.[1]

Odean Pope
Pope, behind Max Roach, in San Francisco, 1981
Background information
Born (1938-10-24) October 24, 1938
Ninety Six, South Carolina, U.S.
InstrumentsTenor saxophone
LabelsMoers, CIMP, Soul Note, Porter, In+Out
Associated actsCatalyst


Pope was raised in Philadelphia, where he learned from Ray Bryant while young.[2] 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.[3]

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.[4]

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."[3]


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)[5]

As sideman

With Max Roach

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


  1. "Odean Pope Profile". All About Jazz. Retrieved 10 May 2015.
  2. Yanow, Scott. "Odean Pope Biography". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 10 May 2015.
  3. Cahill, Greg (22 February 2001). "The Seeker: Saxman Odean Pope strives for the sacred". Northern California Bohemian. ISSN 1532-0154.
  4. John-Hall, Annette (18 March 2011). "Jazz great Pope tells of bipolar struggles". The Philadelphia Inquirer.
  5. "Odean Pope | Album Discography | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 20 November 2016.
  6. "Odean Pope | Credits | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 20 November 2016.
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