Saturday, October 15, 2011

Thelonious Monk: Straight No Chaser

Open Culture found this old film about Thelonious Monk, Straight No Chaser - very cool for lovers of classic jazz music. Clint Eastwood produced this 90 minute film. The summary below is partial - there is more at the Open Culture site.

Thelonious Monk: Straight No Chaser
In 1981, film producer Bruce Ricker had a chance encounter with director and cinematographer Christian Blackwood on the streets of New York. Ricker had just released a documentary on Kansas City jazz, called The Last of the Blue Devils, and Blackwood told him that he too had done a little work on jazz. When Ricker went to see the footage, he was stunned. The reels, he would later say, were “just sitting there like the Dead Sea Scrolls of jazz.”
The “scrolls” were an intimate look into the life and music of Thelonious Monk, the legendary bebop pianist and composer. Blackwood and his brother, Michael, had received a commission from West German public television in late 1967, and were granted unprecedented access to Monk. They followed him around New York, Atlanta and Europe for six months. The resulting cinéma vérité special aired only once, and was forgotten.
By now, Monk’s place in the jazz pantheon is secureThelonious Monk: Straight, No Chaser is a fascinating portrait of a truly original artist. The one-hour, 30-minute film is shown above, and can also be found in our collection of Free Movies Online.
Charlotte Zwerin - Director
Clint Eastwood - Producer
Dick Hyman - Composer (Music Score)
Christian Blackwood - Cinematographer
Rudy Van Gelder - Sound Design

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