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Odean Pope: Odean’s Three

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udging from the similarities in their titles, packaging designs and mix of songs, Odean’s Three is meant as a pared-down sequel to Odean’s List from 2010. While the earlier album featured a five-horn frontline and a pianist, Odean’s Three puts Pope’s brawny tenor in the classic spotlight of a pianoless trio, retaining bassist Lee Smith while swapping out Jeff “Tain” Watts for the more filigreed rhythmic support of drummer Billy Hart. The heightened focus naturally brings Pope’s idiosyncrasies into greater relief. He accepts a little quaver in his tone for the sake of multiphonics, but still rides through phrases with the plush assurance of a big Buick, occasionally ambushing the listener with circular breathing that extends a slurred torrent of notes beyond expectations. In tone and conception, he’s bold but never even remotely out of control.

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