Directed by Charlotte Zwerin, the film documentary of Thelonious Monk's remarkable career features the pianist/composer in performance, along with his closest allies. The soundtrack includes his piano, his music, and his voice. It's an intimate portrait. The music for this film served to paint a musical portrait of Monk and his sidemen.
We hear John Coltrane in Monk's quartet, performing "Trinkle, Tinkle." Phil Woods, Johnny Griffin, Ray Copeland and Jimmy Cleveland join Monk's quartet in Stockholm to interpret "Epistrophy" and "Evidence." They're featured one more time, in Germany, for "I Mean You." Boppers all, the distinctive artists performed freely with Monk's urging. All except Cleveland take solos. Monk's piano speaks volumes. He could put more into one bar of music than some folks can apply to a whole song. His lighthearted approach to "Lulu's Back in Town" reveals another side of the artist: rooted in tradition. Four tracks are performed as solo piano pieces, allowing the listener to fully appreciate the documentary's aim. This aural portrait of Thelonious Monk documents his foundation, as well as his adventurousness. Going out with an eleven-and-a-half-minute "Straight, No Chaser," Monk's quartet takes the time to demonstrate thoroughly.
Track Listing: Straight, No Chaser; Pannonica; Trinkle, Tinkle; Ugly Beauty (rehearsal); Ugly Beauty; Epistrophy; Evidence; I Mean You (Stickball); Lulu's Back In Town; Don't Blame Me; Sweetheart of All My Dreams; 'Round Midnight; Straight, No Chaser.
Personnel: Thelonious Monk- piano, spoken commentary; Charlie Rouse- tenor saxophone, spoken commentary; John Coltrane, Johnny Griffin- tenor saxophone; Phil Woods- alto saxophone; Ray Copeland- trumpet; Jimmy Cleveland- trombone; Larry Gales, Wilbur Ware- bass; Ben Riley, Shadow Wilson- drums; Thelonious Monk, Jr., Nica de Koenigswarter- spoken commentary; Samuel E. Wright- spoken narration.
I love jazz because it's sophisticated, international, atmospheric yet free, cool and warm.
I was first exposed to jazz through the sultry voice and flawless swing of my mother.
I met Mark Murphy, David Linx, Kurt Elling, and Youn Sun Nah.
The best show I ever attended was Youn Sun Nah in Paris.
The first jazz record I bought was Native Dancer by Wayne Shorter and Milton Nascimento
My advice to new listeners: open your mind and your ears, forget about structure, feel the textures.
Go see live music and keep buying CDs!