Friday, August 13, 2010

Charlie Rouse & Monk

This evening, while driving across my beautiful home town, I listened to a wonderful jazz show on the radio.   Night Lights: Classic Jazz with host David Brent Johnson.  To my extreme left, north of town, a thunderhead was flashing like it was trying to tell me something.  Coming out of my car speakers was a good bit of Thelonious Monk from one of his Columbia albums that I recently reviewed.  The soft voice of the host broke in with some compelling commentary about Charlie Rouse, Monk's own tenor.  David Brent Johnson must be a very shrewd jazz critic, because he agrees with me.  Rouse was twenty-four karat.  

He said something that had not occurred to me: that Rouse had to take the blame for any shortcomings that critics found in Monk's recordings.  After all, it couldn't be Monk's fault!  I think these recordings are exquisite, so I have no quarrel with Rouse or Monk.  It looks like you can listen to the shows on the website, so I am looking forward to hearing the Monk show in its entirety.  I also notice that one is posted on Lee Konitz.  I am not going to miss that one.  

I recently acquired Rouses' album Epistrophy.  It's a live date, recorded only seven weeks before Rouse passed away in 1988.  The program is pure Monk.  Listening to it, it occurs to me that I never get tired of Monk's music. 

Here is a sample.  I believe it is the first Monk composition I ever heard.  That was a good thirty years ago, and it turned the ground under me.  I cut out the piano solo following Rouse's solo.  You can get the album from eMusic for a few quid. 
Charlie Rouse/Ruby, My Dear/Epistrophy
Enjoy.  If  you do, drop me a line.  It's been really quite of late. 

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