"Cold Truth, Warm Heart"
Even if you haven't heard of Mike Pope, you've probably heard him play. Over a three-decade career he's been the bassist of choice for a variety of artists including Chick Corea, Al Di Meola, Chuck Loeb, David Sanborn and Eldar. So, it's not surprising that his new album, "Cold Truth, Warm Heart," features some of the finest artists in jazz today: Seamus Blake, tenor saxophone; Joe Locke, vibraphone; Geoffrey Keezer; keyboards; Mauricio Zottarelli, drums; Lydia Courtney, additional vibes; and Alan Blackman, piano.
Pope is terrific on acoustic and electric bass, but the album really showcases his musical vision as a writer and arranger. He also produced, engineered, mixed and mastered the CD. His tunes can be straight-ahead ("Bare Minimum"), funky ("Shadow Of A Doubt"), beautiful ("What I Meant To Say") or other-worldly ("Out Of The Ether"), but they are never predictable. Among the covers are Chopin's "Prelude in E Minor" and Locke's lovely "Dear Life." And, of course, there are great solos throughout, especially from Locke, Keezer, and Blake.