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With: Thelonious Monk, Charlie Rouse, Larry Gales, Ben Riley, Phil Woods, Johnny Griffin, Ray Copeland, Jimmy Cleveland, Tommy Flanagan, Barry Harris, Samuel E. Wright (narrator)
Written by: n/a
Directed by: Charlotte Zwerin
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 90
Date: 10/25/1988

Thelonious Monk: Straight, No Chaser (1988)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Brilliant Corners

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

The same year he directed Bird (1988), about jazz legend Charlie Parker, Clint Eastwood helped produce the excellent documentary Thelonious Monk: Straight No Chaser. Directed by Charlotte Zwerin (Gimme Shelter), the film collects tons of recently-found vintage footage of Monk in action; playing, talking, and spending time with friends. Zwerin connected the old footage with new interviews with Monk's friends and collaborators. The portrait that emerges is one of genius, sadness, and a certain withdrawn forlorn-ness, as shown in a single, haunting shot of Monk spinning around in circles in a crowded airport.

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