Monterose's first professional experience was playing in upstate New York territory dance bands (1947–49). In 1950 he joined Henry "Hot Lips" Busse's touring orchestra. After a brief return to Utica, he joined the Buddy Rich big band in late 1951. Though the band had some excellent bop-oriented musicians (Rich, Dave Schildkraut, Allen Eager and Philly Joe Jones) he soon left, citing the lack of soloing opportunities. "After six months I was drugged with my own playing," he declared in a 1956 interview, "and I went back home and spent the next couple of years working in little joints but with good men."
In New York City in the mid to late 1950s, Monterose was a featured soloist with Claude Thornhill's orchestra and with vibraphonist Teddy Charles' modernist groups, Charles Mingus's Jazz Workshop and Kenny Dorham's short-lived Jazz Prophets. Dorham, Monterose told critic Mark Gardner in 1975, "was one of the greatest leaders and players I ever played for … A wonderful musician." He also recorded two sessions as leader, J. R. Monterose (Blue Note, 1956) produced by Alfred Lion with liner notes by Leonard Feather and The Message (JARO, 1959) produced by Manny Albam with Nat Hentoff providing commentary.
J. R. Monterose (January 19, 1927 – September 16, 1993), born Frank Anthony Peter Vincent Monterose, Jr. in Detroit, Michigan, was an American jazz tenor (and occasional soprano) saxophonist.
Wade Legge lived less than 30 years, his short career an impressive legacy of stimulating work and superb interaction with masters such as Dizzy Gillespie, Sonny Rollins, and Charles Mingus. His name sounding like a partial description of a bathing event, Legge was a fine bassist as well as pianist. Vibraphonist Milt Jackson heard him plucking the former axe in a Buffalo club and called his friend Dizzy Gillespie, knowing the bebop trumpeter was restaffing a rhythm section. This led to a Legge up into Gillespie's combo, a good career move as this group was working steadily in the '50s. A half a month into the first tour, the story goes that Gillespie walked in on Legge playing piano and said "I'm switching you off bass." In another version, Legge got the job after showing the current pianist a hipper way to play a bridge. Legge stretched out in this group through 1954, getting his first opportunities to record as a trio leader when in France on Gillespie's dime.
Album："J.R. Montrose/ Jaywalkin'"
Recorded： New York City, February25 & March9 ,1955
J.R. Montrose (ts)
Wade Legge (p)
Doug Watkins (b)
Bill Bradley (ds)