Philadelphia-based saxophonist Odean Pope was presented with the BNY Mellon Jazz 2017 Living Legacy Award by the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, in a ceremony and reception on Oct. 27 at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. After the reception, attendees took in a performance by recent Living Legacy awardee Ron Carter and his trio.
According to the press release received by JazzTimes, the award was created in 1994 “to honor jazz masters from the mid-Atlantic region who have achieved distinction in jazz performance and education.” Previous Living Legacy Award winners include Carter, Gary Bartz, Joanne Brackeen, Nathan Davis, Muhal Richard Abrams, Phil Woods, Roy Haynes, Dr. Frank Foster, Kenny Barron, Benny Golson, Oliver Lake, Rufus Reid, Randy Weston, Keter Betts, Jimmy Heath, Joe Kennedy, Jr., Shirley Scott, Reggie Workman, Dr. Donald Byrd, Larry Ridley, Barry Harris, Robert “Boysie” Lowery and Clark Terry. A Millennium Award was given to Dr. Billy Taylor in 2000.
Pope, who was born in South Carolina but raised in Philadelphia, is perhaps best known for his stint in the ’80s as a regular member of Max Roach’s groups, including his quartet with Cecil Bridgewater and Tyrone Brown. Early in his career he was a member of a seminal Philadelphia-based jazz-funk ensemble called Catalyst, along with Eddie Green, Alphonso Johnson (later replaced by Brown) and Sherman Ferguson. One of his more interesting projects has been the Saxophone Choir, formed in 1974, pulling stalwart horn players from the local Philadelphia jazz scene, but recording only infrequently. For the last 20 years, Pope recorded numerous critically-acclaimed albums for the C.I.M.P. label and a notably higher profile release for Half Note Records—Locked and Loaded: Live at the Blue Note (2006), which featured guest artist Joe Lovano.