Charlie Rouse

Epistrophy

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Although he had an extensive career, tenor saxophonist Charlie Rouse is best remembered for his decade (1960-1970) as a member of the Thelonious Monk Quartet. It is only right that the last time that he picked up his horn was for a Monk tribute concert. This historic event, originally released by Landmark and reissued with one extra selection on a 1997 32 Jazz CD, finds Rouse in prime form despite the fact that he had just seven weeks to live (before passing on from lung cancer). The date was special from the start, with producer Orrin Keepnews getting Rouse to say a few words to the audience about his time with Monk. There are renditions of "Nutty" and "Ruby, My Dear" that match Rouse with pianist George Cables, bassist Jeff Chambers and drummer Ralph Penland; "Blue Monk" has Jessica Williams sitting in quite effectively on piano; the "new" rendition of "In Walked Bud" showcases vibraphonist Buddy Montgomery in a quartet with Cables, Chambers, and Penland; and, for "'Round Midnight" and "Epistrophy" (Thelonious' closing theme, which also closed the career of Charlie Rouse), the tenorman and quartet are joined by trumpeter Don Cherry. A historic occasion that resulted in near-classic music; highly recommended.

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