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Unsung Hero

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Album Review

Tenor saxophonist Charlie Rouse, who would spend all of the 1960s as a member of Thelonious Monk's Quartet, had relatively few opportunities to lead his own sessions. This CD reissue has an LP and a half's worth of material that the instantly recognizable tenor cut for Epic. Well-versed in the swing/bop tradition and a veteran of both the Duke Ellington and Dizzy Gillespie orchestras, Rouse plays thoughtful solos with a pair of conventional rhythm sections on this album (which includes either Billy Gardner or Gildo Mahones on piano, Peck Morrison or Reggie Workman on bass and Dave Bailey or Art Taylor on drums), sticking mostly to standards and avoiding Monk tunes (which he performed on a nightly basis anyway). A fine example of Charlie Rouse's playing outside of the world of Thelonious Monk.


Born: April 6, 1924 in Washington D.C.

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s

Possessor of a distinctive tone and a fluid bop-oriented style, Charlie Rouse was in Thelonious Monk's Quartet for over a decade (1959-1970) and, although somewhat taken for granted, was an important ingredient in Monk's music. Rouse was always a modern player and he worked with Billy Eckstine's orchestra (1944) and the first Dizzy Gillespie big band (1945), making his recording debut with Tadd Dameron in 1947. Rouse popped up in a lot of important groups including Duke Ellington's Orchestra (1949-1950),...
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Unsung Hero, Charlie Rouse
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