Odean Pope, 1992 Pew Fellow. Photo courtesy of the artist.
Odean Pope, Coltrane Celebration, 2017. Photo courtesy of the artist.
Odean Pope, All That Philly Jazz, Jazz corridor, the golden strip. Photo courtesy of the artist.
Odean Pope is a pioneering jazz saxophonist, composer, performer, and educator who has collaborated with jazz luminaries such as John Coltrane, Dizzy Gillespie, Chet Baker, Benny Golson, and McCoy Tyner. Pope joined the Max Roach Quartet as a regular member in 1979 and remained with the group for more than two decades. He has released more than 20 albums with various groups such as his nine-piece Odean Pope Saxophone Choir. Having grown up in North Philadelphia, Pope says he’s always felt a strong commitment to his community and working with the city’s children. He started the jazz studies program at Settlement Music School, and he continues to give master classes in the School District of Philadelphia, as well as nationally and internationally. Pope has received awards and fellowships from The Rockefeller Foundation, North Sea Jazz Festival, and the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society, and he was honored in 2017 with the Living Legacy Jazz Award from Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation. In 2018, Pope received a Center Project grant to create Sounds of the Circle, an evening-length suite evoking the “distinctive sonic environment” of North Philadelphia and the mid-20th-century innovators who helped build Philadelphia’s jazz legacy.