Charlie Rouse Jr. Continues The Rouse Legacy!

“…when it comes to the entertainment and music industry, Charlie Rouse Jr. has the most important skill one can possess: experience. Besides coming from a well-known musical family that featured his father, he has 50 years of combined experience as a producer and promoter. Charlie Rouse, Jr. C.E.O. of The Rouse Legacy at the Smithsonian Anthology celebration at “Chico’s House of Jazz” for his father and Count Basie!!”

-John Pfeiffer May 11, 2011 Shore world C.E.O Charlie RouseJr!!


The Rouse name is not going anywhere, and The Rouse Legacy will live on and continue to bless the ears of all their fans and supporters. Chico Rouse has been a student of jazz since he was a child, through his father and his father’s peers. As an extremely talented jazz drummer, Rouse JR., was truly blessed to be able to study percussion with great artists such as Charlie Perset, Warren Smith, Freddie Waits, Normand Grossman, Keith Coleman, Art Blakey, Ben Riley. He has also had the privilege of performing with names like George Benson, Charles Earland, Jimmy Ponder, Eric Gale, Frank Foster and Jimmy McGriff. Chico Rouse grew up surrounded not only by his father’s wonderful world of Jazz, but also the entertainment skills of his mother, Esperanza Rouse. Esperanza was an original chorus line dancer alongside Lena Horn in the famous Cotton Club located in Harlem. As a member of the Asbury Park community Chico has over twenty-five years experience in the entertainment, promotion, and management business. Rouse has followed the performing paths of his late parents. His father Charles Rouse was a renowned jazz player on the saxophone and flute. His mother Esperanza Rouse was a dancer in the still famous Cotton Club music venue in New York City. They collaborated with well-known artists including Thelonious Monk and Lena Horn, respectively. Charlie Rouse Jr., the Zephyr’s new marketing director, said he intends “to show people how we can do it ‘small,’ to convince donors that we can do it ‘big’.” He has a broad spectrum background in theater and the entertainment world. He has worked with the Count Basie Theater as Marketing & Program Director, Artist in Residence. Chico also worked as General Manager of the Paramount Theater / Convention Center. He also worked as the Special Event Director for the City of Asbury Park, NJ. He has had a distinguished 50-year career as professional jazz musician, producer, celebrity musician promoter and music club owner. Charlie Rouse, Jr. on drums!! Son of Jazz great Charlie Rouse, Jr. has lived in the warm shadow of some of the premiere Jazz pioneers of the past few generations. While Charles Sr. performed with such legendary music icons as Thelonious Monk, Count Basie, Billy Eckstien and of course the great Duke Ellington, Chico has built his own legacy as a world renowned Jazz drummer playing with such greats as George Benson, Eric Gyale, Charles Earland and many others both in studio and on tour. Never straying far from his roots and the passion instilled within him from his father. Jazz Corner

Chico has an extensive national affiliation with Smithsonian Anthology Collection, Smithsonian National Museum of African History, New Jersey Jazz and Blues Foundation, National Jazz Museum in Harlem, NJ Counsel of the Arts, Library of Congress and National Museum of African American History and Culture.


“Music acts as a forum for bringing people together! The similarities between what occurred in the 60′ and what is occurring presently is detailed in this broadcast on NPR from Friday, June 19th, 2020. The Thelonius Monk album, Palo Alto, featuring my father, the late, great Charlie Rouse, Sr., ON SALE NOW! Seeing what continually reoccurs in society as history repeats itself, this just lets me know that we as artists and human being have a lot of work to do!”

– Charlie Rouse, Jr. CEO of The Rouse Legacy

The vibrant album spotlights Monk’s steady touring band (tenor saxophonist Charlie Rouse, bassist Larry Gales, drummer Ben Riley).

Epistrophy - Charlie Rouse Sr. & Thelonius Monk Quartet

The Story of Thelonious Monk’s Found Palo Alto Recording, According to Zev Feldman
Zev Feldman posted July 22, 2020

I originally met Thelonious Monk’s son and estate representative, T.S. Monk, way back in 1991 when I was an 18-year-old production coordinator for the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz (now called the Hancock Institute of Jazz). I’ve been a fan of Monk’s music as far back as I can remember and that was a magical time in my life.

It wasn’t until 2010, at the “Giants of Jazz” concert in South Orange, New Jersey honoring Bob Cranshaw, that we met up again and began talking about what tapes T.S. had of his father’s that could make for an interesting release for Resonance Records, the Los Angeles-based boutique archival label of which I’m co-president. I was taken by T.S.’s charisma and passion for preserving his father’s legacy, and I hoped that we could find something special to work on together.

Fast-forward to 2016, and here comes this long lost studio session from 1960, Les Liaisons Dangereuses, from my friends Fred Thomas at Sam Records and Francois Le Xuan at Saga Jazz in France. This was the soundtrack to Roger Vadim’s film of the same name and it was a really big deal that this recording was discovered. They needed to clear the rights with the Thelonious Monk Estate and I was happy to make the introduction for them. Liaisons had an exquisitely designed package (2LP edition and deluxe 2CD set) which went on to garner tremendous acclaim in the press.

Thelonious Monk 1964 Monterey Jazz FestivalBy Jim Marshall | 1964 Monterey Jazz Festival

From that point on, it’s been an incredible journey getting to know the Monk family more and get this amazing music into the farthest reaches of the globe. After the tremendous success of Liaisons, I was keen on finding another Monk project that could match some of that album’s captivating energy.

Another such recording revealed itself pretty quickly when concert promoter Danny Scher brought to the Monk family’s attention a recording he had of the Thelonious Monk quartet with Charlie Rouse, Larry Gales, and Ben Riley captured at Palo Alto High School in Palo Alto, California on October 27, 1968. The musical performances on this recording are riveting, but the backstory on how the performance came about is equally fascinating.

Danny Scher was a 15-year-old Jewish kid in high school looking to book a benefit concert for the international committee at the school. The fact that he was able to book one of the biggest Black jazz icons in the world to perform at his high school at that time was miraculous. There are many sub-stories involved, like how the police told Danny to get out of East Palo Alto, where he was putting up posters, because it was too dangerous for him to be there; and that East Palo Alto was in the process of having a referendum on renaming the city Nairobi after the Kenyan capital; and that the concert was recorded by one of the janitors at the school.

Thelonious Monk and Charlie Rouse 1969 Monterey Jazz Festival By Veryl Oakland | 1969 Monterey Jazz Festival

Sometimes projects just aren’t meant for certain labels, and Palo Alto certainly falls under that category. The Monk family told me about the Palo Alto recording in 2017 and we started working towards a deal with Resonance that didn’t materialize. From there, I introduced the family to my friends at Universal Music Group and they became engaged in conversations about a release with the Verve Label Group on Impulse Records!

One day I got a call from Douglas Holloway, the business representative for the Thelonious Monk Estate. They were ready to proceed with Palo Alto with Verve. The family wanted me to be involved and negotiated to have me as a co-producer with a friend of many years, Ken Druker. I was honored and excited to be brought in like that, as neither the family nor Verve had to do that for me. It meant a lot to me, and I suspect one of the reasons they asked me to stick around was because they knew how incredibly passionate I was about these recordings and that I would be letting each and every person I knew just how strongly I felt about that.

The Palo Alto recording is especially important for me because although it took a long time to get to this point, with many ups and downs along the way, the fact that it’s coming out now at this racially tumultuous time in our country’s history I think is serendipitous. It’s the kind of recording that can really be a shining example of how music can have a transformative effect and bring people together in ways that other mediums simply can’t do as well.

I’m grateful to be able to wake up every morning on a mission to uncover important, previously unissued music from jazz masters such as Thelonious Monk, John Coltrane, Bill Evans, Wes Montgomery and so many others. The fact that these Thelonious Monk recordings from 50 to 60 years ago are out there making their way around the world and telling these fascinating stories is deeply fulfilling for me.


Zev Feldman’s Essential Monk Albums

I’ve been having my mind blown by Thelonious Monk’s music since I was a teenager and I’ve accumulated a lot of Monk LPs in my collection over the years. Here’s my list, in no particular order, of “Essential Monk” selections. I’m proud to have been a part of the first two releases on the list, and it does my heart good to know that decades and decades later, we’re still making new discoveries that add new chapters of the legacy of the great Thelonious Monk.

A Previously Unreleased Thelonious Monk Concert Is Coming Next Month

Newly Discovered Thelonious Monk Live Recording Due Out July 31

Palo Alto captures the jazz giant’s fall 1968 concert at a California high school

Thelonious Monk has not been missing from the recent bumper crop of archival jazz releases. His 1959 soundtrack recordings for Les Liaisons Dangereuses saw the light of day in 2017; Mønk, a 1963 concert recorded in Copenhagen, followed in 2018. On July 31, Impulse! Records’ Palo Alto joins the list of newly discovered Monk.

Palo Alto documents a performance by the piano legend and his quartet—tenor saxophonist Charlie Rouse, bassist Larry Gales, and drummer Ben Riley—at Palo Alto High School in California on October 27, 1968. The event was organized by Danny Scher, then a 16-year-old jazz lover getting an early start on a successful career as a West Coast concert promoter. (At the time, Monk was booked for a three-week residency at the Jazz Workshop in nearby San Francisco; Scher and his brother ferried the quartet down the bay for the Palo Alto concert.)

While this and the high-school setting might suggest a low-fidelity approach, the quality of the recording—made, rather bizarrely, by the school’s janitor—is remarkable; the creak of Monk’s piano bench is audible during his solo spot.

The concert was an important moment for Palo Alto in the turbulent social and political year of 1968. Racial tensions were simmering, due in part to the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in April and to a pending referendum to change the name of East Palo Alto, the predominantly black neighboring town, to “Nairobi.”

“Neither Thelonious nor sixteen-year-old Danny Scher fully grasped what this concert meant for race relations in the area,” wrote Robin D.G. Kelley of the event in his landmark biography Thelonious MonkThe Life and Times of an American Original. “For one beautiful afternoon, blacks and whites, P.A. and East P.A., buried the hatchet and gathered to hear ‘Blue Monk,’ ‘Well, You Needn’t,’ and ‘Don’t Blame Me.’”

Pre-order for Palo Alto (along with a stream of one track, “Epistrophy”) is available here.