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.
Enjoy. If you do, drop me a line. It's been really quite of late.