Monk + Monk in Europe
DIRECTOR: MICHAEL BLACKWOOD
CAST: THELONIOUS MONK
Michael Blackwood in person
Thelonious Monk, though at the height of his fame and his musical powers, was unbeknownst to the world approaching the end of his life as a public performer in 1967, when German television commissioned young filmmaker Michael Blackwood to make a documentary about the world-renowned jazz pianist and composer. After following Monk across two continents for six months, Blackwood came away with 14 hours of sizzling candid footage, enough for two cinema verité-style works that were broadcast in Germany and then never seen again. Until now, that is— remastered by Michael Blackwood Productions on the occasion of the recent centennial of Monk’s birth, Monk and Monk in Europe are now ready to be viewed anew, essential documents of one of the 20th century’s great American artists both pontificating on and passionately practicing his craft.
A ride-along with Monk and his quartet, then consisting of Charlie Rouse, Larry Gales, and Ben Riley, that catches the crew in New York, where they knock dead the crowd at the Village Vanguard and lay tracks down at Columbia Records with legendary producer Teo Macero, as well as in Atlanta, appearing at a festival put together by famed impresario George Wein.
MONK IN EUROPE
For a European tour under the auspices of Wein’s Newport Jazz Festival road company Monk is joined by Ray Copeland, Clark Terry, Phil Woods, and Johnny Griffin, following an intense itinerary through the rounds of European dates that includes stops in London, Stckholm, Copenhagen, Berlin, Mainz and Rotterdam, competing along the way for crowds with the rising rock fest circuit.