7.7/10
875
14 user 10 critic

Thelonious Monk: Straight, No Chaser (1988)

A documentary film about the life of pianist and jazz great Thelonious Monk. Features live performances by Monk and his band, and interviews with friends and family about the offbeat genius.

Director:

Charlotte Zwerin
Reviews

On Disc

at Amazon

1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Documentary | Biography | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

The film explores the global power and impact of the music of John Coltrane and reveals the passions, experiences and forces that shaped his life and revolutionary sounds.

Director: John Scheinfeld
Stars: Denzel Washington, Reggie Workman, Ravi Coltrane
Documentary | Biography | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Documentary on the life of jazz trumpeter and drug addict Chet Baker. Fascinating series of interviews with friends, family, associates and lovers, interspersed with film from Baker's ... See full summary »

Director: Bruce Weber
Stars: Chet Baker, Carol Baker, Vera Baker
Miles Away (2015)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Everything Michael DeVeaux II ever wanted was so close, yet, so far away. His life was idyllic, relaxed, and mostly beautiful. He had his wife, his mistresses, his money, his mansion, his ... See full summary »

Director: Jimmy Jenkins
Stars: Spoon Alexander, Salvador Alvarez, Sirwan Assad
Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A troubled, but talented musician flees the US to escape his problems, finding refuge and support in Paris.

Director: Bertrand Tavernier
Stars: Dexter Gordon, François Cluzet, Gabrielle Haker
Miles Ahead (2004)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Intimate look into the life of a young aspiring writer, Miles Williams as he struggles to overcome the solace of hometown in the wake of his best friend's death.

Directors: Dylan Trivette, Matthew R. Zboyovski
Stars: Ben Allison, Timm Perry, Lindsay Ayliffe
Documentary | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Art Kane, now deceased, coordinated a group photograph of all the top jazz musicians in NYC in the year 1958, for a piece in Esquire magazine. Just about every jazz musician at the time ... See full summary »

Director: Jean Bach
Stars: Dizzy Gillespie, Milt Hinton, Marian McPartland
Short | Biography
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

An exploration of the mysteries surrounding the death of jazz legend Chet Baker who was found dead below an Amsterdam hotel window in 1988.

Director: Robert Budreau
Stars: Stephen McHattie, Ted Dykstra, Sten Eirik
The Miles Davis Story (TV Movie 2001)
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A review of the life and work of Miles Davis as told by those who knew and worked with him.

Director: Michael Dibb
Stars: Jimmy Cobb, Shirley Horn, Frances Davis
Documentary | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

An exploration of the relationship between jazz trumpeter Lee Morgan and his common-law wife Helen, who was implicated in his murder in 1972.

Director: Kasper Collin
Stars: Lee Morgan, Helen Morgan, Wayne Shorter
Miles Ahead (2015)
Biography | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

An exploration of the life and music of Miles Davis.

Director: Don Cheadle
Stars: Don Cheadle, Emayatzy Corinealdi, Ewan McGregor
Bird (1988)
Biography | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

The troubled life and career of the jazz musician, Charlie "Bird" Parker.

Director: Clint Eastwood
Stars: Forest Whitaker, Diane Venora, Michael Zelniker
Documentary | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

Set at the Newport jazz festival in 1958, this documentary mixes images of water and the town with performers and audience. The film progresses from day to night and from improvisational ... See full summary »

Directors: Aram Avakian, Bert Stern
Stars: Louis Armstrong, Mahalia Jackson, Chuck Berry
Edit

Cast

Credited cast:
Jimmy Cleveland Jimmy Cleveland ... Himself (trombonist, Thelonious Monk Octet)
Harry Colomby Harry Colomby ... Himself (personal manager)
John Coltrane ... Himself
Ray Copeland Ray Copeland ... Himself (Thelonious Monk Octet: trumpet) (archive footage)
Nica De Koenigswarter Nica De Koenigswarter ... Herself
Tommy Flanagan Tommy Flanagan ... Himself (duo, piano performance)
Larry Gales Larry Gales ... Himself (Thelonius Monk Quartet / Thelonious Monk Octet, bass player)
Johnny Griffin Johnny Griffin ... Himself (Thelonious Monk Octet, tenor sax)
Barry Harris Barry Harris ... Himself (duo, piano performance)
Bob Jones ... Himself (road manager)
Teo Macero Teo Macero ... Himself (Columbia Records producer)
Thelonious Monk Jr. Thelonious Monk Jr. ... Himself
Nellie Monk Nellie Monk ... Herself
Thelonious Monk ... Himself (archive footage)
Frank Paccione Frank Paccione ... Himself-Vocalist (singing voice)
Edit

Storyline

A documentary film about the life of pianist and jazz great Thelonious Monk. Features live performances by Monk and his band, and interviews with friends and family about the offbeat genius.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

PG-13
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

31 October 1990 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Straight, No Chaser See more »

Edit

Box Office

Gross USA:

$518,918
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

One of three 1988 Clint Eastwood movies. along with Bird (1988) and The Dead Pool (1988) See more »

Quotes

Thelonious Monk: [scribbles something on a piece of paper] Can you read that?
Nica De Koenigswarter: A beautiful message.
Thelonious Monk: If somebody can decipher that for you, you know, and say what it means, get what it means, it'll upset you. You'll flip, I mean flip for real!
See more »


Soundtracks

Bright Mississippi
Written by Thelonious Monk
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Like the title says, straight music without much detail, but enjoyable for that
17 July 2013 | by bob the mooSee all my reviews

Monk is one of those artists that even the very casual jazz fan knows – a group which I very much include myself in. So many of us would instantly put a name to it when we hear Round Midnight for example, but really wouldn't be able to talk much about the man himself as "proper" fans would. This was sort of what attracted me to this film because I was interested to know a little bit more about the guy. It is both a good and a bad thing that this film doesn't do that particularly, since it is not really a documentary in terms of having lots of facts and insight thrown at you.

This was a little disappointing given the agenda which I came to the film with, but it was replaced by other things to enjoy since the film is very much about the music – which I guess the man was too, so that works. This focus is facilitated by lots of footage which was apparently found in the 1980's which was filmed inside the studio, out on tour, in hotel rooms etc. There isn't too much talking in this footage; I'm not sure if Monk was particularly talky but if he was then it doesn't come over in the footage we have here. What there is though is music being played live while the camera watches, small moments observed and some contributions from friends and family (although really the vast majority of the film is the music). This is welcome as it all good stuff and has that extra addition of seeing it being performed rather than just listened to on CD.

If you are looking to get informed about the man and his story then this isn't the film for you, but if you like his music and want to see it performed on this very nice looking footage then it will be a very enjoyable 90 minutes and is well worth the look for that.


0 of 1 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 14 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

IMDb Freedive: Watch Movies and TV Series for Free

Watch Hollywood hits and TV favorites for free with IMDb Freedive. Start streaming on IMDb and Fire TV devices today!

Start watching



Recently Viewed