Best known for his work with the legendary pianist Thelonious Monk, tenor saxophonist Charlie Rouse is one of the most versatile players in all of jazz. He cut his teeth playing Bop, but in 1949, Duke Ellington hired him, and Rouse became a rarity in jazz: a saxophonist who could play Swing and Bop with equal skill. Rouse enjoyed a solo career from 1957 until 1959, when he joined Monks group. During his stint with Monk, he occasionally made his own records, but his focus was Monks band. More laconic than verbose, Rouse made every note count through clever and unexpected phrasing. And like Monk, he preferred improvising on the melody of a song rather than its chord changes. Rouse went solo in 1970, and when Monk stopped playing in 1976, Rouse formed a tribute band, Sphere, that played Monks music. Sphere has also played standards, originals, and Charlie Parker tunes.