Thelonious Monk

Thelonious Monk

Straight No Chaser

DVD - 2001
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A wide-ranging documentary that aims to put Monk's status into context and perspective. It blends the history of Monk's early career in Harlem with archival black-and-white footage of the pianist performing his own compositions for Norwegian and French TV.
Publisher: Burbank, Calif. : Warner Home Video, c2001
ISBN: 9780790752983
0790752980
Branch Call Number: DVD 781.65 MONK THELONI 1DISC
Characteristics: 1 videodisc (90 min.) : sd., col. and b&w ; 4 3/4 in
Alternative Title: Straight no chaser

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ba_library
Jun 28, 2019

Good documentary about jazz pianist Thelonious Monk. I did not know anything about his personal life. The doc interviews his manager and son and they both comment on his mental health. His son says he was schizophrenic his manager alludes more towards manic/depressive, but underneath all that is his musical genius. An early contributor to bebop jazz, he had an unique sound and fortunately there is a lovely musical score of his music throughout the documentary.

p
ProfessorTime
Aug 05, 2017

The best part of this documentary is the rare "Behind the Scenes" footage. However, as Monk’s story unfolds, I was surprised how rude Monk could be at times. During one live performance in front of a packed house, Monk completely stopped a tune mid-way, walked over to a sideman, and openly scolded the sideman in front of hundreds of fans [Awkward as hell! My take on this incident is that Monk himself was “screwing-up” but chose to blame the sideman instead.] On another occasion, Monk insulted a session player at a recording date when the session player asked a very legitimate question about the tune they were rehearsing. It is well-known that Monk had psychological issues, but I did not know Monk had a Big Ego & Manner Issues as well. Sometimes we put our heroes on pedestals and expect them to be perfect human beings when they are not. This is one such case. FACT: Thelonius Monk was no monk. Nevertheless, this documentary is very enjoyable viewing, especially for Monk fans.
GRADE: B+

h
hesselugano
Jun 16, 2015

Too much Monk not enough music. Monk was an unlikeable and dysfunctional man with mental health issues; his only useful contribution to society was his music and that's what this documentary should have focused on.

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Ellington4
Jan 03, 2012

A superb documentary about the complex jazz giant Thelonius Monk. There's lots of music, in performance and in recording sessions, of most of Monk's major compositiions and some obscure ones. Also there's a surprising amount of personal and behind-the-scenes footage that adds a touching element. Very rewarding.

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