Charlie Rouse

Rico Vandoren

St.Helens, Merseyside. UK.
Someone sent me a sax quartet arrangement for ' When Sunny Gets Blue ', and while trawling utube for performances of it I came across Charlie Rouse. I've never heard of him, but have spent a few hours listening to more of his stuff. Just bought ' Unsung Hero' on itunes on the strength of this. Sounds good to me.
I wouldn’t have called Charlie Rouse an unsung hero. He spent more than ten years with Thelonious Monk! I would have said his style is hard bop. Superb tenorist though but for me I love his flute work, simply stunning!
Indeed, he is worth discovering. As well as Monk's band he made some great sides with Clifford Brown in an all star group that included Gigi Gryce (on alto and flute), John Lewis and Art Blakey. Also Benny Carter's Further Definitions album from '61 that had a four sax line up of Carter, Phil Woods, Coleman Hawkins and Rouse (plus the great Jo Jones on drums) : it has a great version of Cotton Tail among other tracks. Memory also says he is on a good album from the 60's with Nat and Cannonball Adderley but I could be wrong.
A wonderful Charlie Rouse album is "Soulmates." It was the last album he ever cut, and alongside him was one of my biggest baritone (and flute) idols, Sahib Shihab. A very beautiful - and entertaining - session. Rouse had a very distinctive sound.
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The 'Straight No Chaser' album released on Columbia is my favourite Rouse album with Monk.
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Have also just discovered Charlie Rouse and When Sunny Gets Blue - wow what a player! amazing breathy sound on this track -wonderful !
I am a life long fan of Thelonious Monk - I think Charles Rouse really helps make the later Monk bands sound really amazing - I think these records are as good as the Monk/Coltrane records from 1957 - which are stunning - the 'Live at Carnegie Hall" find must be one of the best recent(ish) nuggets

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