Summer of Music: Jazz On Film

Thelonius Monk Straight, No Chaser

Dir. Charlotte Zwerin (1988) 90 mins.

Filmmakers Bruce Ricker and Charlotte Zwerin utilize Michael and Christian Blackwood's 1968 footage of modern jazz innovator, Thelonious Monk, to create a singular portrait of this Jazz master's life both onstage and off. Charlotte Zwerin brings her editing genius (Gimme Shelter, Salesman) to the fore as she weaves new interviews, archival photos and music through the Blackwoods' verité footage to deliver a comprehensive biography while maintaining the open, meditative space that characterizes Monk's compositions. Of the films she made with Albert and his brother David Maysles, Al says, "Charlotte is gone now, but she is still the best editor I know of."