Monk's Main Man
Samuel Chell | Kenosha,, WI United States | 07/05/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Charlie Rouse was the best of the tenors to play in the Thelonious Monk Quartet. More than Coltrane, Rollins, and Johnny Griffin, Rouse subordinated his technical gifts to the musical demands of the context. He was like Monk's third hand, fully expressing not merely his eccentric employer's elliptical music but his humor as well.The accomplishment of Rouse in the Monk group is all the more impressive after hearing him play on a session such as "Takin' Care of Business." The man was a true virtuoso, blessed with an ever fertile melodic-harmonic imagination and incredibly fast and precise articulations. Playing so effectively with Monk required the restraint and understatement of a mature and throughtful musician. On this date, on the other hand, he reveals himself to be the "tenor boss" that he was. "Wierdo" (sic) is a tour de force, a breathtaking toccata that sweeps you along in wave after wave of forceful and energetic but always inventive, purposeful melodic ideas. Once after a Monk set, I expressed my feeling about this performance to Charlie himself. He looked puzzled, finally claiming, "That's weird. I can't remember recording anything like that." I think the Monk role had really gotten to him."
Ahmed Chronwell | Washington DC | 08/01/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Charlie Rouse got this recording date in '60 a few months after joining up with the Thelonious Monk quartet, and he uses the oppurtunity to record these 6 brilliant tunes with some great musicians. Pianist Walter Bishop Jr. is particularly stellar, turning in classic and distinctive solos, especially on Upptankt, a Rouse original. The tunes that impress me most are the hard-bop 204 and the tricky bopper Wierdo. Fans of breezy avenues and stargazing will find that Charlie Rouse handles his business."