Thelonious Monk: Straight, No Chaser is a captivating documentary created by Charlotte Zwering (Gimme Shelter) that expands on footage from Monk’s 1967 tour that was shot by Christian Blackwood. The film provides an incredibly detailed and in-depth look into the life of one of the greatest jazz musicians to ever live. It delves far beyond what Ken Burns’ Jazz documentary ever thought to explore.
Throughout the course of the two hour documentary, viewers will get an intimate portrait of Monk’s life; from his childhood and teenage years growing up in New York City to his rise to fame in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Viewers will also get an inside look at Monk’s eccentric lifestyle, which involved him performing with unorthodox techniques such as hitting the keys with his fists and elbows, not to mention his interesting choice for fashion attire.
The interactions between Monk and other musical giants of his era such as John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Art Blakey, and Dizzy Gillespie are captured in rare archival footage that truly brings history alive. The jazz music found throughout this movie is mesmerizing; it showcases how integral Monk was to the birth and evolution of bebop. You can feel just how influential he was in shaping modern jazz music during this time period.
Thelonious Monk: Straight, No Chaser stands as a must-watch for any fan of jazz music or anyone interested in learning more about one of its biggest contributors. This documentary offers a fascinating look into Monk’s life, allowing viewers to gain further appreciation for this iconic musician while enjoying some truly beautiful musical performances along the way. Don’t miss out on this amazing opportunity!