Kimberly C. Roberts Entertainment Reporter
On Saturday, in a full evening celebrating the publication of the first “Philadelphia Real Book,” Jazz Bridge presents iconic saxophonist and music educator Odean Pope and and innovative pianist Dave Burrell, both dynamic composers, in the second of four extraordinary concerts featuring “certifiable legends of jazz.” The event will take place at Caplan Recital Hall within the University of the Arts, 211 South Broad.
“A ‘Real Book’ is a collection of Philadelphia jazz composers, past and present,” explained Suzanne Cloud, co-founder and executive director of Jazz Bridge.
The evening will begin with a free wine bar and cheese reception at 6:30 p.m., before the Odean Pope Quartet, comprised of Lee Smith (bass), Tom Lawton (piano) and Craig McIver (drums), takes the stage at 7:30 p.m.
In an interview with the Philadelphia Tribune, Odean Pope explained how he became involved in this unique project, presented with major support by the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage.
“Suzanne and I, we go way back. Even before (pianist) Eddie Green passed, Suzanne was singing,” Pope said. “She’s very talented. Every time I have a job, I like for her to sing at least one song. We were talking about the ‘Real Book,’ in regard to the ‘Real Books’ all over the world — which I have all of them here — and we were thinking in terms of, ‘Why not have a ‘Real Book’ in Philadelphia? Take some of the musicians from Philadelphia, and form a ‘Real Book?’ So fortunately, I was able to get three of my compositions in the ‘Real Book.’
“I think Jazz Bridge is doing a tremendous job. Not only in regard to the ‘Real Book,’ but just supporting and helping musicians here in the Philadelphia area.”
During his one-hour set, Pope and his quartet will perform familiar jazz standards, along with several of his original compositions including, “Scorpio Trains,” “Out for a Walk” and “This Time Is Forever.” His set will be followed by a “Jazz Talk” titled “Maverick Intentions” that will focus on “the impact of the social/political environment on jazz in Philadelphia during the 1960s and early 1970s. Saxophonist Bobby Zankel, historian John Szwed and ethnomusicologist Mary Ann Lancaster will sit on the panel.
Dave Burrell will begin his set at 10 p.m., and Pope recalled an interesting collaboration with the accomplished pianist and composer, saying, “Dave Burrell and I had a duet we used to play — all of Scott Joplin’s music. About 10 years ago, we worked together for quite a while playing all of Scott Joplin’s music, and that was a great learning experience — plus very educational, learning about this great man, Scott Joplin.”
In anticipation of a great night of jazz, Pope said in conclusion, “The fans in Philadelphia have been so great and wonderful to me, and I would like for you to continue doing that. I love you all, out there. We have something special for you. I have a very powerful quartet, so please come out and support the music at the Jazz Bridge.”
The “Philadelphia Real Book” series continues on Saturday, March 11 with guitarist Pat Martino with his organ trio and pianist Uri Caine’s trio; and on Wednesday, April 26 with the Christian McBride Trio and the Monnette Sudler Quintet.
For more information, visit philarealbook.org.