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11 December 2006



This is absolutely wonderful stuff.


Well, I just emailed this (contrarian) observation to Ethan, but, what the hell, I'll post it here too: I was listening very carefully to Charlie, and, unlike Monk, about half the time he really is outlining those I-vi-ii-Vs. I love the way he mixes us Monk-y stuff with regular bop stuff. I also like the slick way he modulates up a half step then takes it back down again a couple times.


meant to say "outlining those I-vi-ii-Vs even while Monk is pounding out just one chord behind him."


Different video: Oslo, April 1966. I love Larry Gales's expression when he daintly stoops to pluck a bit below the bridge. And Ben Riley tom-less.


OK, Ethan sent me a reponse explaining what he meant: almost all D naturals over what would be the B flat minor E flat 7th, and no G naturals over any VI chords. And some other stuff.


B naturals not G naturals.


G., I think you may have another typo above -- you probably mean F-7 - Bb7 (not Bb-7 - Eb7).

The take-home message is that Rouse plays basically diatonically (with passing tones) or bluesy on the A sections, unless he's doing the F#7 - B7 - E7 - A7 - D7 - G7 - C7 -F7 - Bb cycle or another similar pattern. There are no dominant VI7 (G7) chords, no altered V7 chords (F7), no obvious F-7 - Bb7 - EbMA7 - Ab7 turnarounds. Sometimes he throws in some diatonic turnarounds, but he doesn't feel he has to play them. Rouse is clearly treating most A sections like a generic Bb pedal instead of a specific series of harmonic hurdles to clear -- it's almost like his version of a Cannonball-esque Kind of Blue-style modal approach.

Compare Rouse's solo to any rhythm changes solo by, e.g., Sonny Stitt or Hank Mobley and you'll see what Ethan means.


Yeah, um, I'm been physically almost unable to play for quite a while (fingers crossed), so I get confused about what key I'm supposed to be in.


But anyways like Ethan said (I think) in that last half-step modulation right at the end he does hit a nice A flat while working his way back down.


Sorry, bored, waiting for a phone call in the middle of the night, anyways, I don't know if this contradicts your "no altered V7 chords," but I hear him playing that C flat on a bunch of turnarounds, and a G flat sometimes.


Yes, but those are passing tones.


at the risk of turning this into a mishnaic debate or something, if you meant chromatic passing tones, that's not what I meant, it's just that most times (if I remember right) when he does what sounds like a turnaround it's with the flat 5: C flat, A, B flat


C flat, A, B flat

Again, that's chromatic encirclement of a diatonic target note. I may be wrong, but I don't hear Rouse play any clearly arpeggiated altered dominant seventh chords, where the altered notes are just left hanging out there and aren't immediately resolved to a diatonic note.

Again, listen to a Sonny Stitt or Hank Mobley rhythm changes solo back-to-back with this one and I think you'll find the difference is obvious. They make just about every turnaround, with lots of clear, unambiguous arpeggios. Rouse makes the turnarounds when he wants, where he wants, but for the most part feels entitled to ignore them.


Well, I did say "about half the time" which I think is just about right.


Anyways, I was just being pedantic in response both to Ethan and to you, i.e. objecting a bit not to what was implied but to what was said. And I'd been thinking (not specifically in response to this clip, but I do think it's demonstrated here) about how different Rouse's melodic thing is from Monk's, even though he always stuck me as the most Monkish of Monk's sax players. Mainly it has to do with the very thing you were talking about: how much more stepwise playing he does. I think I found the places where he does the something like F sharp thing at about 2:50 and again around 2:59, (and he's playing some of the same bits of melody in what like I said I hear as a modulation up at the end) (sort of wish I could slow it down; I don't have perfect pitch, and I'm running back and forth to the keyboard in the other room...but it sounds to me like at 2:50 he's starting on A after a little G sharp, which would be F# minor, no?), and again at the next A, but it's much more obvious when Monk does it, because he does arpeggiate it explicitly (or maybe just he's actually playing the chords, or maybe just 'cause he doesn't stop halfway through the pattern).

I'd also been thinking (again, not in response to this clip per se) that generally a big part of Monk's melodic thing is playing around with the major or pentatonic scale vs. the whole tone scale, playing with the fact that some notes are in both and some aren't, but I don't hear Rouse do that so much.


Aaaaagghh!! What happened to the video?!


Aaaaagghh!! What happened to the video?!

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