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Odean Pope: Locked & Loaded

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Odean Pope took his Saxophone Choir to the Blue Note for this live recording, and he brought along some heavy hitters: tenor saxophone giants Michael Brecker, James Carter and Joe Lovano. But those guys provide the guest solos. The heart and soul of this band are the nine saxophones in the choir.

It’s amazing how Pope’s band can sound loving and angry within the space of a few bars. The disc opens with “Epitome,” reminding one of an approaching storm, the saxes unsupported by the rhythm section until the piece is nearly over. The band takes “Prince Lasha” at breakneck speed, climaxing in a tornado of energy, though it’s hard to detect much emotion in Brecker’s technically flawless solo. The mood turns romantic with “Cis,” which finds Lovano exuding his trademark warmth during his lovely solo.

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