A seasoned jazz musician has been serenading shoppers at his local Floridian mall for the last seven years, becoming somewhat of a celebrity in these parts.
Oladepo Ogomodede, 84, has been a mainstay at the Lake St. Charles Shopping Plaza, Riverview, for the good part of a decade now. Every Friday and Saturday, without fail, he sets up shop and plays his sweet jazz with the help of his trusted instruments, including his sax and flute.
Labelling himself as “Jamaica’s Gift to Jazz,” Ogomodede has also been known as Ivanhoe and Mickey O’Bryan over the years. He markets himself as “Ivanhoe, One Man Band.”
Since the age of five, “Ivanhoe” has been in love with music and mastered his craft in his hometown of Port Antonio, Jamaica. He even performed when he served in the Jamaican military. After that, he graduated from Lehman College in New York City.
Ogomodede went on to teach music at a school in Brooklyn before eventually moving down to Florida to settle down. But before retirement, he also worked as a music journalist for the New York Amsterdam News.
“I love music,” he said, with his treasured genre being jazz. His new album, Jazz the Way you Love it, can be purchased from him in CD form for a mere $3, while other albums of his can be found online.
Also, during his long life and career, he has jammed with the best of them, hanging with music legends such as Lionel Hampton, James Brown, Miles Davis and Dizzy Gillespie.
Despite being in the twilight of his life, Ogomodede is still going strong, playing music every week both in private and in public. The jazz player performs at weddings and also has gigs at local nightclubs. “I don’t like rocking chairs,” he said. “And I love to come out (here) and exercise my brain.”