Thelonious Monk: Straight, No Chaser (Straight, No Chaser ) Reviews

  • Jan 15, 2013

    Largely lets the music speak for itself...and what complicated music it is! The film briefly charts Thelonious Monk's rise from Coleman Hawkins sideman to leader in his own right and lavishly offers us concert footage from the late 1960s. A few talking heads tell us about his probable mental illness (sounds like bipolar) but we do not get to know the man through his own words, as he seems mysterious and not interested in talking for the camera. If you haven't checked Monk out, you really should.

    Largely lets the music speak for itself...and what complicated music it is! The film briefly charts Thelonious Monk's rise from Coleman Hawkins sideman to leader in his own right and lavishly offers us concert footage from the late 1960s. A few talking heads tell us about his probable mental illness (sounds like bipolar) but we do not get to know the man through his own words, as he seems mysterious and not interested in talking for the camera. If you haven't checked Monk out, you really should.

  • Feb 26, 2012

    A haphazard attempt to portray the life of Thelonius Monk. This movie could have been better.

    A haphazard attempt to portray the life of Thelonius Monk. This movie could have been better.

  • Stella D Super Reviewer
    Oct 10, 2011

    watching monk play is always a joy and, while it's a shame the film has to delve into suspicions of mental illness associated with his notoriously eccentric behavior, whatever the truth of the matter, it in no way diminishes his brilliance. a giant of american music. watch it here --> http://youtu.be/E4pmPPtKU64 <-- happy b-day mr monk

    watching monk play is always a joy and, while it's a shame the film has to delve into suspicions of mental illness associated with his notoriously eccentric behavior, whatever the truth of the matter, it in no way diminishes his brilliance. a giant of american music. watch it here --> http://youtu.be/E4pmPPtKU64 <-- happy b-day mr monk

  • Jul 12, 2011

    Listening and watching Thelonious play is enough to know that the man is a genius and seeing his slow twirls on stage is enough to know that he is a little off in the head, but this documentary brings out stories of hilarity and sadness, about the artist, told by the people closest to him. After watching this I am on the verge of listening to every single recording.

    Listening and watching Thelonious play is enough to know that the man is a genius and seeing his slow twirls on stage is enough to know that he is a little off in the head, but this documentary brings out stories of hilarity and sadness, about the artist, told by the people closest to him. After watching this I am on the verge of listening to every single recording.

  • Jun 15, 2010

    I was riveted by the performances and the scenes of Monk creating the music, not so much by the talking heads and re-enactments. This was a case of messing with a good thing.

    I was riveted by the performances and the scenes of Monk creating the music, not so much by the talking heads and re-enactments. This was a case of messing with a good thing.

  • Mar 28, 2010

    I don't think there's a musician who better captured the sounds of his own mind, and I don't think there's one who could do so more joyfully. Monk seemed impossible to penetrate and this only adds a mysterious quality to his music, as if it is written in a personal code, but one that he offers you the tools to decipher with the arrangement of his notes. This is filled with great rare footage of him in performance and the studio - it was my first encounter with him, in fact, and lead me to a love of his work that I doubt will ever fade.

    I don't think there's a musician who better captured the sounds of his own mind, and I don't think there's one who could do so more joyfully. Monk seemed impossible to penetrate and this only adds a mysterious quality to his music, as if it is written in a personal code, but one that he offers you the tools to decipher with the arrangement of his notes. This is filled with great rare footage of him in performance and the studio - it was my first encounter with him, in fact, and lead me to a love of his work that I doubt will ever fade.

  • Feb 23, 2010

    wanted a LOT more biographical info. very very sparse on discussion and context. but the footage is raw and intimate. amazing to watch how strangely he and the keys, the entire piano really, confronted each other. big sweaty walrus performing micro-surgery (or maybe dicing vegetables) and never making a mistake.

    wanted a LOT more biographical info. very very sparse on discussion and context. but the footage is raw and intimate. amazing to watch how strangely he and the keys, the entire piano really, confronted each other. big sweaty walrus performing micro-surgery (or maybe dicing vegetables) and never making a mistake.

  • Feb 03, 2009

    I appreciated the absence of music critics and the way the movie honored the pace of the music. Great footage.

    I appreciated the absence of music critics and the way the movie honored the pace of the music. Great footage.

  • Mar 20, 2007

    There's some great footage of Monk, personal and performance, although most of the personal footage is from a very specific part of his life, on a tour in his later years; overall it doesn't delve too deep, but creates a powerful impression. A bit melancholy, since it gets into the possible mental illness that manifested itself more and more as he aged, the subtle signs of which are perhaps evidenced in the footage.

    There's some great footage of Monk, personal and performance, although most of the personal footage is from a very specific part of his life, on a tour in his later years; overall it doesn't delve too deep, but creates a powerful impression. A bit melancholy, since it gets into the possible mental illness that manifested itself more and more as he aged, the subtle signs of which are perhaps evidenced in the footage.

  • Walter M Super Reviewer
    Jul 02, 2005

    [font=Century Gothic]"Thelonious Monk - Straight, No Chaser" is an interesting and entertaining documentary about the innovative jazz musician, Thelonious Monk, and his music. Much of the footage here is from behind the scenes footage shot from an around the world tour in 1967, along with talking heads and other performance footage. [/font] [font=Century Gothic][/font] [font=Century Gothic]I was pleased that most of the emphasis was placed on the music, rather than on Monk's personal life. I'm not an expert on jazz, but I realize there was always something about his music that set him apart from most of his contemporaries.[/font]

    [font=Century Gothic]"Thelonious Monk - Straight, No Chaser" is an interesting and entertaining documentary about the innovative jazz musician, Thelonious Monk, and his music. Much of the footage here is from behind the scenes footage shot from an around the world tour in 1967, along with talking heads and other performance footage. [/font] [font=Century Gothic][/font] [font=Century Gothic]I was pleased that most of the emphasis was placed on the music, rather than on Monk's personal life. I'm not an expert on jazz, but I realize there was always something about his music that set him apart from most of his contemporaries.[/font]