Introduced by Garth Jowett, University of Houston
Regarded as one of the best jazz documentaries, Straight, No Chaser presents a fascinating cinematic portrait of one of the most extraordinary and idiosyncratic individuals in the history of jazz—pianist and composer Thelonious Monk. The film centers on Michael and Christian Blackwood's extensive and previously unseen 1968 footage, which includes great performances and the only footage of the very private Monk offstage. Director Charlotte Zwerin (Gimme Shelter) intersperses the archival sequences with interviews with some of those who knew the man best, including his son, saxophonist Charles Rouse, his manager, and friend and supporter Baroness Nica de Koenigswarter.
For more than 30 years Garth Jowett has been a professor of communication, specializing in both film and propaganda studies, at the Jack J. Valenti School of Communication at the University of Houston. He has been an avid jazz fan and scholar since he was 12. In Houston his jazz radio show The Sounds of Jazz has been heard since 1979, starting on KUHF-FM, and then moving to KTRU-FM. After a number of years wandering in the jazz radio wilderness, he now presents this show on KPFT-FM.