Charlie Rouse, a member of Billy Eckstine's 1940s big band, grew up in D.C., attended Armstrong High, and when he comes to town he stays with relatives who have lived here all their lives. The nonprofit Jazz Arts Society will feature him in concert Friday along with fellow saxophonists Buck Hill and Andrew White in the Department of Agriculture auditorium.
Rouse has traveled extensively overseas -- in the '60s with Thelonious Monk and recently with trumpeter Benny Bailey -- and from his apartment in New York he commented on some changes in the jazz musicscape in Europe.
"I was really surprised to see that the Europeans are especially good musicians now, as opposed to when I was there before with Monk. They really play jazz now, and they're very good at it. It shows you that the music is in the air now, and if you're a good musician you can play it. I think what made the difference is that a lot of American musicians went over there to live . . . Records are fine, but if they have some personal contact it will enhance their ability tht much more. The younger musicians will eventually branch out on their own, I think, and find their own exprression. Jazz really has no boundaries -- it can be incorporated into all types of music.You just have to have taste and know how to apply it."