Chick Corea Elektric Band bassist Mike Pope has been described as having "Jaw-dropping exuberance and precision" by the Ottawa Citizen andin a review of Mike's 2003 release, Alexander M. Stern wrote in All About Jazz, “In a year that has already produced a number of excellent recordings, Mike Pope’s The Lay Of The Land may well be one of the best. It’s certainly one of the most exciting new albums this reviewer has heard in a long time.” That CD featured such heavy-hitters as Michael Brecker, Mike Stern, John Patitucci, Jeff "Tain" Watts, Joe Locke, Randy Brecker, Henry Hey, Seamus Blake and Jim White.
Mike was raised in Bowling Green, Ohio by parents who were classical musicians and educators. At the University of North Texas, Pope encountered saxophonist Michael Brecker who suggested he move to New York City. The young bassist was soon playing with Brecker, Blood, Sweat and Tears, Manhattan Transfer, and countless other jazz stars. John Patitucci calls him “a musician of broad scope and tremendous talent. His virtuosity on electric and acoustic bass is rare even by today’s standards.”
In one of the greatest traditions in jazz, high caliber, in-demand musicians love performing with other musicians of excellence. With the new CD, Cold Truth, Warm Heart, Mike Pope's third album as a leader, the virtuoso acoustic and electric bassist has again created a forum for that to happen. The result, which features six original compositions, a tune penned by Joe Locke, a jazz version of a Chopin Prelude and a cut by Ukrainian composer Reinhold Gliere written in 1907, offers something musically new and fascinating. And, like his 2003 release, the new disc features some equally heavy-hitting players: Joe Locke, Seamus Blake, Mauricio Zottarelli, Geoffrey Keezer, Lydia Courtney and Alan Blackman.
The live touring band features another incredible lineup. Appearing at the Regattabar show is the extraordinary, 27-year-old Grammy-nominated pianist from the Soviet Union, Eldar Djangirov, who was described by The New York Times as having "a blend of musical intelligence, organizational savvy, enthusiasm and prowess that was all the more impressive for seeming so casual . . . [he's] an ebullient impressionist."
Another of the "cardinals" in this five-star group is one of the pre-eminent vibraphonists in jazz. Joe Locke, who appears on the new CD and also on Pope's previous issue, has performed and recorded with a diverse range of notable musicians, including Grover Washington Jr, Kenny Barron, Eddie Henderson, Cecil Taylor, Dianne Reeves, Ron Carter, The Beastie Boys, the Münster Symphony Orchestra and the Lincoln, Nebraska Symphony. Locke has also won numerous awards and polls, including the 2006, 2008 and 2009 "Mallet Player of the Year" award from the Jazz Journalists Association.
Performing on tenor sax is Bob Franceschini. In addition to composing and arranging, Franceschini has performed, toured and recorded with a wide range of top flight artists including Mike Stern, Paul Simon, Celine Dion, Tito Puente, BeBe Winans, Ricky Martin, Lionel Richie and Eddie Palmieri. Born and raised in New York City, Bob attended the High School of Music and Art and Long Island University and shortly thereafter began his musical career, touring, recording, writing, arranging and producing for the cream of the crop of jazz, Latin jazz, pop and salsa artists such as George Benson, Eddie Palmieri, Woody Shaw, Kenny Kirkland, Andy and Jerry Gonzalez, Chris Botti, Chico O’Farrill, Tower Of Power (just songwriting and arranging), Chaka Khan, Michel Camilo, Willie Colon, Jennifer Lopez, and Paul Simon.
Finally, one of the most sought after drummers on the scene, Brazilian drummer Mauricio Zottarelli adds the percussive icing to the cake. Zottarelli is also heard on the new release.Having toured extensively with Hiromi's Sonicbloom band, Zottarelli has also performed with Eliane Elias, Marc Johnson, Prasanna, Lee Ritenour, Dave Grusin, Esperanza Spalding, Keiko Matsui, Richard Bona, Paquito D’Rivera, Joe Lovano, Chico Pinheiro, Cláudio Roditi, Joe Locke, Geoffrey Keezer, Mike Pope, Ivan Lins, Carmen Souza, Chuck Loeb, Rosa Passos, Dom Salvador, Jovino Santos Neto, Nilson Matta, Toninho Horta, Filó Machado, Gustavo Assis Brasil, Hendrik Meurkens, Oriente Lope and many others.