7.6/10
1,088
14 user 6 critic

Thelonious Monk: Straight, No Chaser (1988)

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

Director:

Charlotte Zwerin
Reviews
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

Photos

Edit

Cast

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

Storyline

A documentary film about the life of pianist and jazz great Thelonious Sphere 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 | See all certifications »
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

Crepuscule with Nellie
Written by Thelonious Monk
See more »

User Reviews

 
Excellent stuff
17 April 2010 | by laska_himselfSee all my reviews

Clint Eastwood presents: a documentary about jazz genius. Thelonius Monk is portrayed as an artist both blessed and cursed just by his genius. Apart from typical format of 'talking heads' of the genre master (John Coltrane), collaborators, figures from music business and Thelonius, Jr., there is shown small but intense piece of the musician's life: in the studio, on the road, during live concerts. And a note about unusual, long-lasting friendship between Thelonius and Baroness Nica de Koenigswarter. The makers were able to grasp tension coming from creative process (songs being written on the run, then played in front of huge audience without proper rehearsal), routine of life on tour with ever-tendering wife Nellie by his side, biased or just silly questions from journalists, more or less visible symptoms of mental illness (which might have been confused with artist's mannerisms, stage antics or eccentricities at most). And trademark exotic hats (could anyone else in the 20th century look cool in that historic Polish head thingy?). Another memorable thing is Monk's diction and his simple, street-like way of talking, being in contradiction with the kind of a man he was (supposedly extremely complex one) and with undeniably sophisticated music he composed and performed. Luckily, there is plenty here of the latter. Chamber, suggestive film in black and white about an extraordinary man. And a must not just for "jazz purists" but music lovers in general.


2 of 3 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 14 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

1 October 1989 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Straight, No Chaser See more »

Edit

Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$31,842, 9 October 1989

Gross USA:

$518,918

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$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 »

Contribute to This Page



Recently Viewed