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Thelonious Monk: Straight, No Chaser (Full Screen)


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Product Details

  • Actors: Thelonious Monk, John Coltrane, Jimmy Cleveland, Harry Colomby, Ray Copeland
  • Directors: Charlotte Zwerin
  • Format: Color, DVD-Video, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French, Portuguese
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: PG-13
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • Release Date: Jan. 30 2001
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000053VC9
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #52,201 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)


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4.5 out of 5 stars
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By Jet Lagged TOP 500 REVIEWER on Oct. 13 2013
Format: DVD
Clint Eastwood's little known documentary about the life of jazz musician Thelonious Sphere Monk.

Though Monk was a musical genius, it is hard to avoid the feeling that his music could have been appreciated more when he was alive (One exception to this was when he performed at the Paris Jazz Festival).

There is a funny and true story that Monk once went out for a walk. He took his time in returning. After a while, a friend goes searching for him. "Are you lost?", says his friend. "No, I'm here", the Zen Monk replied.

This DVD is highly recommended.
 
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Fineberg on Sept. 12 2003
Format: DVD
So exclaims a frustrated Monk during a late 1960s Columbia recording session, after finishing a haunting run-through of "Ugly Beauty" and learning that producer Teo Macero neglected to record it. The movie is filled with wonderful private moments like these, though I can't say how much interest it will hold for those not familiar with Monk. For me, however, and for many others who are infatuated with him and his music, the footage in this documentary is gold. The character of Monk is rounded out for us, and we find that he was just as unique and strange in his life as he was in his music. He was truly in his own world, and though for 90 minutes we see him up close, with his musicians, with his wife Nellie, with the Baroness Nica, see his bizarre behavior backstage, at the airport, in the hotel, we are no closer to getting inside his head. For that, one simply needs to hear the music.
And the music collected in the movie is astonishing--An early television appearance where Monk is miffed by Count Basie staring at him across the piano during a performance...several shows with a quartet including Charlie Rouse...great footage of the big band sessions of the mid 60s, with Rouse, Johnny Griffin, and Phil Woods scrambling to learn the arrangements...and the great Columbia session, where Monk becomes visibly annoyed, but still has time for a wonderfully tender moment with pal Teo. There are interviews with Monk's managers, his son, Charlie Rouse, and a fine piano duet of "Well You Needn't" by Tommy Flanagan and Barry Harris, reminding one and all that not only was Monk one of the most distinctive piano players in jazz, but that, along with Ellington and Charles Mingus, he was one of the most brilliant composers as well.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By PC on April 21 2001
Format: VHS Tape
I remember going to see this film in the theatre when it came out, along w/some young jass musician friends. We all thought it was the best thing on jazz we'd seen. This was not long after Clint Eastwood's Charlie Parker dramatization had come out - to nearly universal disappointment. The feeling was that Eastwood had redeemed himself by bankrolling the production of this marvelous film - wonderful old black and white documentary footage presented w/contemporary interviews, etc. It's been a decade since I saw it, but many scenes still come to mind: Monk's wife Nellie keeping him propped up, Monk inexplicably twirling around in an airport, disappointments on the bandstand, a contemporary interview w/Monk's son and his honest comments about his father's mental illness. To jazz hounds, Monk is part of the family. This film helps get to know him better and to appreciate his art, and jazz, more fully.
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Format: DVD
"Straight No Chaser" offers an abundance of wonderful footage of Thelonious Monk in concert, in transit, at home, in rehearsal, eating, sleeping, spinning in circles, in the studio, signing autographs and of course creating magic at the keyboard. Watching this film is like watching the weather on any given day. At one moment it's cloudy and grey, the next sunny and blue and in between anything could happen, and does. Monk clearly had serious and long term mental health problems, but the music the man created is his real legacy and there is plenty of it here. Towards the end of the film Milt Jackson, Art Farmer, Tommy Flanagan and Barry Harris try to work out the chord progression to one on Monk's songs and as things get more and more complex Milt Jackson (who played with Monk) simply smiles to himself with a combination of perplexity and amusement at the sheer genius of the music.
The excitement and sense of discovery one feels in witnessing this precious footage does become tempered by the lack of insight into the nature of his music and the full impact of it upon other musicians. The interviews are revealing, especially Harry Colomby (Monk's manager) and a visibly emotional TS Monk Jr. who with understandable difficulty recalls his father's mental problems. Ultimately though, the uniqueness of Thelonious Monk's music shines through. His television performance of "Just A Gigolo" about half way through is inspiringly honest, utterly sincere (even in it's sardonic humour) and completely absorbing.
Monk's most lasting musical legacy was probably his honesty as a musician and as a man, the rarest quality of all.
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By jerome on Oct. 9 2002
Format: DVD
if you are jazz fAN AS IAM ARE AMERICAN HISTORY BUFF THEN THIS FILM IS WHAT YOU MUST HAVE ,THELONIUS IS THE ONE THE WORLD GREATEST MUSICIAN THAT EVER GRACE THIS WORLD HE IN GOOD COMPANY WITH THE LIKES BEETHOVEN ,BACH ROCKMONOFF AND OTHER GENIUSES MUSIC FOR ME IS MY LIFE FORCE AN STAIGHT NO CHASER BRING IT HOME FOR ME THANK YOU FOR THE OFFERING.
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