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Charlie Rouse is not a very well known Jazz musicians but if you like Thelonious Monk then your ears are very much familiar with the unique distinctive sound of his tenor sax. He was as you will read below, with Monk for quite a bit of time. But he recorded several albums as a leader and this one is one of them. Yeah! will be featured here on Jazz Con Class for about two weeks. Check the schedule link for play times.

About Album:

Tenor saxophonist Charlie Rouse is best known for his work with Thelonious Monk, playing with the enigmatic pianist and composer during Monk’s Columbia years from 1959 until 1970. Rouse’s sound with Monk was so fluid and smooth that’s it’s easy to forget how many eccentric, jagged turns he had to navigate night after night, and that Rouse did it with quiet, steady grace is a testament both to his sax playing and to the space Monk built into his puzzle box compositions. Rouse headed up few sessions on his own as a bandleader, but as this calm, workmanlike set, recorded in 1960 and originally released in 1961 on Epic Records, clearly shows, he could rise to the occasion. Working with a rhythm section of Dave Bailey on drums, Peck Morrison on bass, and Billy Gardner on piano (this was actually Gardner’s debut in a recording studio), Rouse’s sax lines seem to float effortlessly over the top of things, feeling less urgent and angular than his work with Monk. Highlights include the opener…..Read More

Charlie Rouse Biography:

Though a top tenor man in his own right, he will always be remembered as the saxophonist for the Thelonious Monk quartet. He adapted his playing to Monk’s music; his tone became heavier, his phrasing more careful, and he seemed to be the medium between Monk and the audience.

Charlie Rouse studied clarinet before taking up tenor saxophone. He played in the bop big bands of Billy Eckstine (1944) and Dizzy Gillespie (1945), but made his first recordings as a soloist only in 1947, with Tadd Dameron and Fats Navarro.

After playing rhythm-and-blues in Washington and New York, he was a member of the Duke Ellington Orchestra (1949-50) and Count Basie’s octet (1950). He took part in Clifford Brown’s first recordings in 1953, then worked with Bennie Green (1955) and played in Oscar Pettiford’s sextet (1955); with Julius Watkins, also one of Pettiford’s sidemen, he led Les Modes (later the Jazz Modes), a bop quintet (1956-59). He joined Buddy Rich briefly before playing in Thelonious Monk’s quartet (1959-1970), the association for which he is best known.

In the 1960s Rouse adapted his style to Monk’s work, improvising with greater deliberation than most bop tenor saxophonists, and restating melodies often. His distinctive solo playing with Monk may be heard on the classic recordings in the bands heyday.

Though he would go on to do some solo projects, they were very selective and he opted for quality over quantity. His first outing as leader was “Taking Care of Business,” (1960) for this overdue debut, he selected trumpeter Blue Mitchell, and a rhythm section of pianist Walter Bishop and bassist Earl May, and Art Taylor on drums…..Learn More   

Video of Charlie Rouse with Monk:

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