Category Archives: Jim’s Jazz Bites

Charlie Rouse on Monk’s Dream: shaping a solo with chord tones, chromatic approaches, and triads

My favourite passage from Charlie Rouse‘s solo on Thelonious Monk’s 1962 recording of Monk’s Dream – Take 8 is made up of the four closing phrases below (Charlie’s final statement right before the piano solo starts).

Most of the soloing is built on chord tones here (melodic emphasis on the notes that make up the changes). It is also interesting to pay close attention to the use of chromatic approaches, and to the way various triads emerge to define a distinct melodic contour.

Monk's Dream, Charlie Rouse_C

Approach notes:

  • Db in bar 1 (technically the “second” measure here: the very first one is used to show the pick up and is thus incomplete with only 3 beats; let’s call this “pick up” measure “bar 0″) approaches the following C from above (upper chromatic approach)
  • A# in bar 3 approaches the following B (which is itself an anticipation, corresponding to the major 7th of the following C chord) from below (lower chromatic approach)
  • first E in bar 5 is lower chromatic neighboring tone
  • D# in bar 5 is a lower chromatic approach to the following E
  • the notes A (diatonic note to the E7sus/B chord) and G (chromatic note since it doesn’t belong to the E mixolydian scale from which E7sus/B derives) in bar 7 enclose the following Ab
  • both Abs in bar 8 are upper chromatic neighboring tones
  • Ab and G# in bar 9 enclose the following G chromatically

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