"Art of Jazz" Cinema Series: "Thelonious Monk: Straight No Chaser"

Thelonious Monk: Straight No Chaser

1988
1 hour 30 mins
Directed By: Charlotte Zwerin

Thelonious Monk: Straight, No Chaser highlights the life of one of the most extraordinary individuals in the history of jazz. Using precious film footage shot in the late 1930s of the great pianist and composer, this film provides a special opportunity to savor the work of this one-of-a-kind musical revolutionary. This exemplary documentary about seminal jazz pianist and composer Thelonious Monk reaps the benefits of multiple blessings, including the skilled editorial hand of director Charlotte Zwerin and the patronage of executive producer (and erstwhile jazz pianist) Clint Eastwood. Most vital is the use of extensive 1968 footage, shot by Michael and Christian Blackwood, documenting the sometimes moody, sometimes puckish Monk in the studio, on tour, and off stage, which on its own would make this essential jazz viewing. “The film’s late-60’s portions, which document a European tour and also catch Monk playing in clubs and in recording sessions, are some of the most valuable jazz sequences ever shot,” writes Stephen Holden of the New York Times.