Tag Archives: Odean Pope

2nd Annual Jazz Legacy Awards

On Monday, July 24, 2017, the jazz community, spearheaded by state Sen. Vincent Hughes and Sheryl Lee Ralph-Hughes, will celebrate seven pioneers in the world of arts and culture:

  • Marshall Allen, Sun Ra Arkestra
  • Joan Myers Brown, PHILADANCO
  • Abiodun Oyewole, The Last Poets
  • Odean Pope, Saxophonist
  • Mickey Roker (posthumously), Drummer
  • Sumi Tonooka, Pianist
  • Tony Williams, Saxophonist

2nd Jazz Legacy Award

The event is free but you must RSVP by contacting Tamica Tanksley via email or by phone at (215) 879-7777.

Uptown Theater

Opened on Feb. 16, 1929, the Uptown began life as a movie house. In the 1950s, it became a jazz venue. The jazz greats who graced the Uptown stage included Count Basie, Sarah Vaughan, Gloria Lynne, Cannonball Adderly, Nancy Wilson, Ramsey Lewis, Oscar Brown, Jr., Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, and Jimmy Smith.

John Coltrane and Miles Davis played there one Christmas Day, but after the first show, they left for New York City because the promoter didn’t pay them.

In 1958, legendary disc jockey Georgie Woods began producing rhythm & blues shows at the Uptown. The 2,040-seat theater became a stop on the “chitlin’ circuit.” The Uptown was where jazz met R&B. Saxophonist Sam Reed was the house bandleader. The Sam Reed Orchestra included Bootsie Barnes, Jimmy Heath and Odean Pope.

The Uptown’s heyday was the 1960s and ‘70s. Since the final curtain in 1978, the interior of the Uptown has deteriorated almost beyond recognition. With the exception of the seats, none of the original artifacts remain.

Uptown Theater

Linda Richardson, president of the Uptown Entertainment & Development Corporation, hopes to bring back the good times. In 2001, UEDC purchased the theater with the goal of renovating the theater into a technology center, artist lofts and office space.”

For information on how you can help restore this Art Deco palace to its former glory and preserve an iconic piece of black music, visit the Uptown Entertainment & Development Corporation.

Woodbine Club

The Woodbine Club was located on the corner of 12th and Master Streets. According to Johnny Coles, it was “a minute” from John Coltrane’s apartment.

John Coltrane's Apartment - 2.24.15

Jazz musicians would play there on Sundays when the regular bars were closed. Saxophonist Odean Pope recalled:

I think the first time I heard Trane was around 1954. There was a place on 12th Street called the Woodbine Club. During that period people like Jimmy Oliver, Jimmy Heath, Red Garland, Shuggie Rose, Philly Joe Jones, those were the pioneer musicians during that period. And it was a place, an afterhours place where they had entertainment, say from say twelve o’clock until around five in the morning. That was like Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. It was a sort of collaboration place where all of the musicians would come and exchange ideas and jobs. So this particular night it was Hassan Ibn Ali, Donald Bailey – some very fine percussion. They had sort of invited me along to go with them. And Trane, Jimmy Oliver, Jimmy Heath, Wilbur Cameron, Bill Barron, all of the musicians came there after they got off work and that was the most enlightened experience in my whole life, I think, of seeing so many wonderful musicians come together collectively and exchange ideas as well as perform.

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