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Larry Kart

Charlie Rouse redux

163 posts in this topic

18 minutes ago, Jams_Runt said:

I have no idea what the "when in Rome..." comment means. You made your point clearly, I just thought that you might have been interested in what else Monk's "most sympathetic and tuned in Tenor player" played throughout his career. I guess not. Cool. Wasn't trying to trap you, just trying to move the conversation along.

Why do I need to be “interested” in something I’m already familiar with? 

I guess you only have the wits to assume that because I actually thought that Rouse was excellent with Monk that I must not have heard any of his other work? 

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Easy there Scott, I had the wits to think you would have more to say about Rouse outside the context of Monk since that was originally the context of this whole discussion. Guess not. You must be really fun at parties.

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I should have known by your inability to comprehend my “when in Rome” what kind of person I was dealing with. 

 

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Anyway, so thanks to this thread I checked out Rouse's Bossa Nova Bacchanal for the first time in ages. (I tend to listen to Sphere or when he played as a side man with Waldron, when I want to listen to Rouse.) This is such a great little date. Kinda house Blue Note in style and kinda different too. A sweet spot for me. Will have to put this in the rotation more often. And for what it's worth, Rouse's playing here sounds a lot looser than with Monk. I've got to check out Yeah! sometime.

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I’ve not really thought about this until this thread but I realise that I’ve viewed Rouse with or without Monk as almost two different players. He’s always been a solid if not spectacular player. A bit like Junior Cook or George Coleman ( in my eyes) 

I’m bemused about how apparently controversial his contributions to Monk’s output are. More contentious to my mind was why Monk didn’t develop, progress or otherwise move on the group with Rouse.

Now don’t get me wrong but whilst I love all the Colombia studio  albums they’re all pretty much interchangeable. They solidified his tunes through repetition in a way that Bud Powell should have dealt with his compositions. Despite that virtue they lack ambition.

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1 hour ago, Clunky said:

I’ve not really thought about this until this thread but I realise that I’ve viewed Rouse with or without Monk as almost two different players. He’s always been a solid if not spectacular player. A bit like Junior Cook or George Coleman ( in my eyes) 

I’m bemused about how apparently controversial his contributions to Monk’s output are. More contentious to my mind was why Monk didn’t develop, progress or otherwise move on the group with Rouse.

Now don’t get me wrong but whilst I love all the Colombia studio  albums they’re all pretty much interchangeable. They solidified his tunes through repetition in a way that Bud Powell should have dealt with his compositions. Despite that virtue they lack ambition.

Post of the thread, IMO. 

Even though I may have a minor quibble or two. 

Well said, Clunky! 

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1 hour ago, Clunky said:

 More contentious to my mind was why Monk didn’t develop, progress or otherwise move on the group with Rouse.

I personally believe it was due to Monk’s growing mental illness.  The last part of the documentary “Straight No Chaser” gives a harrowing view of his decline.

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well, I will jump in here and over-state my position. Thanks to Larry, last year I started to listen to Rouse away from Monk - and was surprisingly pleased. I like his non-Monk work, but I will say I absolutely cannot stand his Monk work, cannot even listen to it, I find it almost - repulsive, sorry to say. He is self conscious with Monk in the worst possible way; fighting above his weight class? Trying to be Monkish at times through mannerism instead of real style. Ponderous and, worst of all, boring.

But he sounds great on that recording above with Watkins,

BTW, the one time I heard Rouse in person, in the '70s with my friend Bob Neloms on piano, Bob said to me afterwards, "why do they think he's so great?"

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Mr. Dolan, your table is waiting.

maitre-d-picture-id184136586?k=6&m=18413

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Don Was could be a man who does not one (produced "Love Shack") but TWO great things in his life if he releases THIS!

   

Charlie Rouse Quintet

Charlie Rouse, tenor sax; Joe Zawinul, piano; Grant Green, guitar; Sam Jones, bass; Frankie Dunlop, drums.

Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, April 17, 1963
tk.4 Clo-E Blue Note rejected
tk.13 Little Sherri -
tk.17 What Kind Of Fool Am I -
tk.24 I Left My Heart In San Francisco

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On 7/7/2018 at 2:22 AM, Clunky said:

 More contentious to my mind was why Monk didn’t develop, progress or otherwise move on the group with Rouse.

Did Monk ever really "develop" after about 1948. As he became fashionable in the 50's his sidemen (at least on record) got better, his music was orchestrated etc. but the tunes and the piano style were already there ... The changes that occurred in the late 50's, 60's did not affect his playing in any way. As be-bop based straight ahead jazz (of which Monk's music was an idiosyncratic offshoot) fell out of "fashion" in the 60's, Monk went with it. Musically he was pretty conservative (in his own way, of course) ... Q

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7 hours ago, Quasimado said:

Did Monk ever really "develop" after about 1948. As he became fashionable in the 50's his sidemen (at least on record) got better, his music was orchestrated etc. but the tunes and the piano style were already there ... The changes that occurred in the late 50's, 60's did not affect his playing in any way. As be-bop based straight ahead jazz (of which Monk's music was an idiosyncratic offshoot) fell out of "fashion" in the 60's, Monk went with it. Musically he was pretty conservative (in his own way, of course) ... Q

Agreed. The essence of Monk's music was all there after the mid-40s. His career decline after the mid-60s was paralleled by his declining health and the collapse of jazz as the music of the younger generation.

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7 hours ago, BillF said:

Agreed. The essence of Monk's music was all there after the mid-40s. His career decline after the mid-60s was paralleled by his declining health and the collapse of jazz as the music of the younger generation.

I agree as well.

Another issue is that Monk wrote very few new compositions after the mid 1950's. Apart from his own tunes, he only played a tiny number of standard tunes. To the best of my knowledge, he never played a tune by Charlie Rouse during those many years they were together. Nor did he play tunes by Bird, Dameron, Dizzy or others from his generation.

That is one reason why there is such a sameness when listening to the numerous recordings of the Monk Quartet from about 1958 onwards.

His few solo sessions, and the adding of Joe Gordon and Harold Land to the quartet were especially interesting to me as a switch from the sameness of the quartet recordings.

 

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18 hours ago, Quasimado said:

Did Monk ever really "develop" after about 1948. As he became fashionable in the 50's his sidemen (at least on record) got better, his music was orchestrated etc. but the tunes and the piano style were already there ... The changes that occurred in the late 50's, 60's did not affect his playing in any way. As be-bop based straight ahead jazz (of which Monk's music was an idiosyncratic offshoot) fell out of "fashion" in the 60's, Monk went with it. Musically he was pretty conservative (in his own way, of course) ... Q

I'd say the substance of Monk's style was pretty much there by the first BN recordings.  What happened after that is distillation, a process that continued into the 60s.  How much you like that distillation is probably directly correlated with how much you like the post-Riverside albums.

re Rouse, I do think he adds value to the Monk albums he's on.  Not necessarily a LOT of value but the recordings are better than they would be if there was no tenor saxophonist.  I'm also not sure whether Monk could have worked long-term with a really distinctive, individual stylist.

 

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Probably mentioned somewhere in the thread, but I like the albums with Griffin.

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Re Rouse's long tenure with Monk, I recall an interview Frank Zappa gave around, IIRC, 1977, where he talked about considerations for hiring musicians, especially for touring.  There are trade-offs.  Many excellent musicians don't like touring.  Many musicians willing to tour year in and year out aren't that great, or have bad personal habits.  He singled out George Duke as an example of that rare musician who was a great musician and enjoyed touring.  It could be that Rouse didn't mind all that touring, was good enough musically, and got along well enough with Monk that his tenure lasted so long.

Not sure they were friends, though.  I'm still thrown for a loop by that interview Bob Cranshaw gave, a little before his death, where he said that he and Sonny Rollins almost never talked conversationally even throughout the decades they played together.  How does that even happen?

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Sometimes I wouldn't want to hire my friends to do what I consider a job.

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19 minutes ago, clifford_thornton said:

Sometimes I wouldn't want to hire my friends to do what I consider a job.

No way in hell! Family members either. 

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2 hours ago, mjzee said:

Re Rouse's long tenure with Monk, I recall an interview Frank Zappa gave around, IIRC, 1977, where he talked about considerations for hiring musicians, especially for touring.  There are trade-offs.  Many excellent musicians don't like touring.  Many musicians willing to tour year in and year out aren't that great, or have bad personal habits.  He singled out George Duke as an example of that rare musician who was a great musician and enjoyed touring.  It could be that Rouse didn't mind all that touring, was good enough musically, and got along well enough with Monk that his tenure lasted so long.

Not sure they were friends, though.  I'm still thrown for a loop by that interview Bob Cranshaw gave, a little before his death, where he said that he and Sonny Rollins almost never talked conversationally even throughout the decades they played together.  How does that even happen?

yeah but this is jazz, where a steady gig is, was, and will always be GOD. No musician would turn down that kind of gig in those days, or now, with a leader like Monk, who was not only famous but pulling down real fees.

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Yeah? And what would have happened to those “real fees” if Monk presented a band of subpar musicians? 

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Another thought about why Monk welcomed (or what you will) Rouse. In addition to taking up lots of solo space -- space that Monk himself typically was unable or unwilling to fill (indeed Monk seldom took lengthy solos ever) -- Rouse more or less played the skeleton of Monk's music back at him rather than presenting him with a reading of the material that might have been challenging by our lights but too divergent and/or independent and thus  too challenging to the state where Monk was -- mentally and musically -- at that period in his life. Perhaps Monk needed support, and Rouse provided it.

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A skeleton of Monk’s music? 

Can you give me the most obvious example? This I would love to hear. I own, or at least have access to pretty much all Monk’s Columbia catalog. So choose whatever tune from whatever album works best for you. 

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12 hours ago, Scott Dolan said:

A skeleton of Monk’s music? 

Can you give me the most obvious example? This I would love to hear. I own, or at least have access to pretty much all Monk’s Columbia catalog. So choose whatever tune from whatever album works best for you. 

Am about to leave town first thing tomorrow morning for almost a week, so no can do. But I can't imagine that examples of what I spoke of would  be hard to find; rather, they were the norm. Typically, Rouse would play the head and then modestly decorate/modify the piece's given melodic/rhythmic/harmonic material (its skeleton, so to speak) until his solo had run its course. This approach was different from Rouse's approach (a good deal of the time) when he was away from Monk, and it was different as well from the approach of other soloists who played successfully with Monk -- e.g. Rollins, Lacy, Coltrane, Lucky Thompson, Milt Jackson, Thad Jones, Clark Terry, Ernie Henry, who am I forgetting?

P.S. I'm a great admirer of Johnny Griffin but don't find his work with Monk to be that successful by and large. His sound and rhythmic approach were a good fit for Monk, but his more or less decorative hyper exuberance didn't really add anything essential to the mix IMO, though the results were ... well, good clean fun might be a way to put it. In any case, to play effectively with Monk, one needs to engage with his music on a structural level, not a decorative one. 

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