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Odean Pope: Plant Life

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Photo of Odean Pope
Odean Pope

Maybe Jimmy Smith kept a tight rein on Donald Bailey when he drummed in the B3 innovator’s trio. Bailey’s contributions to Smith’s Blue Note catalog were solid and steady, and never flashy. Conversely, the opening minutes of Talking House’s third Blueprints of Jazz installment find Bailey rolling and tumbling in an Elvin Jones kind of mood, driving tenor saxophonist Odean Pope, bassist Tyrone Brown and pianist George Burton.

Now that the drummer leads a band, he takes all sorts of liberties, with loud snare punctuations and extra cymbal crashes adding heat to Pope’s solo in “Plant Life.” “Blues It,” written by the late, unheralded Philadelphia pianist Hasaan Ibn Ali, has a calypso rhythm that inspires Bailey to sound like drummer and percussionist, layering cowbells and tom fills over a steady beat.

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