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Thelonious Monk: Straight, No Chaser

Directed by Charlotte Zwerin

Canada, 1988

HOME, 26 July 2016

Thelonious Monk: Straight, No Chaser

This film gives a compelling portrait of the great man in the late summer of his career; it also serves as a summation of his achievement.

We learn as well that he seemed to have had a habit of whirling around very fast and then suddenly stopping: a child’s way of getting high, eclipsing memory, making the world wondrous strange. The best moment here is an exhilarating performance of ‘Well, You Needn’t’, Monk’s composition a casual reminder, almost an insouciant aside, that your life is your own and you don’t have to play by anyone’s rules. A tune that makes you feel happy and empowered and justified all at once. You smile, again and again.

Monk’s music is a gift: accept.

There is a performance of ‘Well, You Needn’t’ online here: