Two Philly natives helping shape jazz scene both in the classroom and on the stage

Tamala Edwards Image
Thursday, April 18, 2024
Two Philly natives helping shape jazz scene both in the classroom and on the stage
Two Benjamin Franklin HS graduates are mentoring musicians both on and off the stage, helping to shape the jazz scene in Philadelphia and beyond.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- For the last 40 years, Lovett Hines has been instrumental in growing budding musicians into some of the greats.

"Joey DeFrancesco was one of my students, Christian McBride," says Hines, Artistic Director of the Philadelphia Clef Club.

He started teaching his own music program at the Philadelphia Clef Club of Jazz & Performing Arts in 1985. He says the goal was "to help musicians develop, educate and present."

Hines, a musician himself, grew up in North Philadelphia.

"You had places like the Uptown, you had the Met, that was in our neighborhood," says Hines.

Saxophonist Odean Pope also grew up there.

"Philadelphia has a great legacy of turning out great musicians," says Pope.

"Out of high school I started playing in R&B groups all over Philadelphia," says Hines.

He says he met a drummer named Pete Vincent and they went on to play together for a few years.

"And we formed a group called HEEM," he says. "A lot of artists came out of that."

Pope recorded with a group called Catalyst. Hines says he remembers listening to that group's music, calling Pope his "first mentor." They both graduated from Bejamin Franklin High School, although they did not attend the school at the same time.

"I knew Odean from just being, you know, one of those iconic musicians that we use as an inspiration," says Hines.

Hines says he got to know Pope better when they started working together at a summer music camp.

"He's one of those educators that don't need a classroom," says Hines.

"It's very important that you sit down and talk to one another," says Pope. "It's more than music."

Looking at archival photos at the Clef Club is like a walk down memory lane for these two.

Pope brought along a photograph taken in 1979 of himself and the guys that made up the Saxophone Choir. Among the many musicians in the group was Gerald Veasley, who also came through the Clef Club.

Hines points to a later photograph of Veasley on the wall of the club.

"I call him 'Mr. Philadelphia Music' now," he says.

Hines and Pope were part of the arc of many iconic musicians' careers.

On April 20, Pope will perform with Reggie Workman as part of the 'Jazz Cultural Voices' series. Hines says the club wanted to bring in artists who were really "icons in the music itself."

"They are treasures in the music world, but they're a major treasure here," he says. "Mentoring so many other artists."

"He's passing great, valuable information on down to generations," says Pope.

For more information:

The Clef Club of Jazz & Performing Arts:

Jazz Cultural Voices Series - Philadelphia Summit featuring Odean Pope & Reggie Workman: