Photo of Odean Pope playing the saxophone.

Photo: John Abbott Photography

Saxophonist and Educator Odean Pope
Named BNY Mellon Jazz 2017
Living Legacy Honoree


Award to be Presented October 27, 2017
at the John F. Kennedy Center
for the Performing Arts


Baltimore – May 31, 2017 – Saxophonist and educator Odean Pope will be honored with the BNY Mellon Jazz 2017 Living Legacy Award in a special ceremony at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts on Friday, October 27, 2017. The Award is a program of Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation and is sponsored by BNY Mellon, the global leader in investment management and investment servicing. The BNY Mellon Jazz Living Legacy Award honors living jazz masters from the mid-Atlantic region who have achieved distinction in jazz performance and education.

The 2017 event will include a gala reception, the Award ceremony, and admittance to the Kennedy Center’s 9:00pm Terrace Theater performance featuring the BNY Mellon Jazz 2016 Living Legacy awardee Ron Carter.

“For over 230 years, BNY Mellon has supported communities in areas where we can have the greatest impact and improve lives. As a part of our broader philanthropy and community partnership outreach, the company has supported the arts, including jazz, because we believe it contributes to making our local communities better places to live and work,” said Jyoti Chopra, Head of Global Citizenship and Sustainability.” Jazz legend Odean Pope is renowned for his mastery of the saxophone and for his commitment to jazz education and his hometown of Philadelphia. BNY Mellon is proud to support Mr. Pope’s stellar career as a musician, composer and educator through this honor and tribute.”

Odean Pope grew up in jazz rich territory with other Philadelphia jazz notables. John Coltrane chose Pope to replace him in Jimmy Smith’s Group when Coltrane left for New York to join Miles Davis. Although he was close to Coltrane, Pope was always searching for his own musical sound. Integrating several musical influences – including the church choir of his youth, Philadelphia jazz and R&B of the 50’s, and classical woodwind chamber music – led to the formation of Catalyst in the early 70’s, a collective of musicians representing Pope’s new aesthetic. In 1979, Pope joined the Max Roach Quartet and was a regular member of the group for more than two decades.

Pope currently works with his trio, quartet, and saxophone choir. The saxophone choir consists of nine saxophones, and was established by Pope in 1977. The Choir released its first album, The Saxophone Shop, in 1985 on Soul Note.

Through the years, Pope kept Philadelphia as his home base. Having grown up in North Philadelphia, Pope has always felt a strong commitment to working with children. He was musical director of a Philadelphia cultural initiative, “Model Cities,” he started the jazz studies program at the Settlement Music School and he continues to give master classes in the School District of Philadelphia.

Odean Pope’s artistry as performer, composer, arranger, and educator have earned him three citations from the City of Philadelphia. Among his many accolades are a Pew Fellowship and awards from The Rockefeller Foundation, Cleveland Community College, Afro -American Historical Society, North Sea Jazz Festival, and Chamber Music America.

Previous BNY Mellon Living Legacy Award winners include Ron Carter, Gary Bartz, Joanne Brackeen, Nathan Davis, Muhal Richard Abrams, Phil Woods, Roy Haynes, Dr. Frank Foster, Kenny Barron, Benny Golson, Oliver Lake, Rufus Reid, Randy Weston, Keter Betts, Jimmy Heath, Joe Kennedy, Jr., Shirley Scott, Reggie Workman, Dr. Donald Byrd, Larry Ridley, Barry Harris, Robert “Boysie” Lowery, and Clark Terry. A Millennium Award was conferred on Dr. Billy Taylor in 2000.

For more information on the BNY Mellon Jazz Living Legacy Award and the 2017 event, please click here.

This program is made possible through a collaboration with the Kennedy Center.

About BNY Mellon
BNY Mellon is a global investments company dedicated to helping its clients manage and service their financial assets throughout the investment lifecycle. Whether providing financial services for institutions, corporations or individual investors, BNY Mellon delivers informed investment management and investment services in 35 countries and more than 100 markets. As of March 31, 2017, BNY Mellon had $30.6 trillion in assets under custody and/or administration, and $1.7 trillion in assets under management. BNY Mellon can act as a single point of contact for clients looking to create, trade, hold, manage, service, distribute or restructure investments. BNY Mellon is the corporate brand of The Bank of New York Mellon Corporation (NYSE: BK). Additional information is available on Follow us on Twitter @BNYMellon or visit our newsroom at for the latest company news.

About Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation
Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation develops partnerships and programs that reinforce artists’ capacity to create and present work and advance access to and participation in the arts. The Foundation was created in 1979 and is a private non-profit organization that is closely allied with the region’s state arts councils and the National Endowment for the Arts. It combines funding from state and federal resources with private support from corporations, foundations, and individuals to address needs in the arts from a regional, national, and international perspective. For more information on the Foundation’s programs and services, please visit:

Karen Newell
Director, External Affairs
Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation
410.539.6656 x104