Friday, November 27, 2009

Thelonious Monk live recorded on film (1966)

Thelonious Monk optredens op film (1966) ( Nederlands) Thelonious Monk live recorded on film (1966) ( English)

Monk's European trip - spring 1966
Hans Koert

Todays blog is dedicated to some great fragments on film by Thelonious Monk, while performing in Paris and Warshaw. I found four fragments from the Thelonious Monk tour to Europe, spring 1966 organized by George Wein. The quartet performed in Paris, Caen, Lyon, Nantes, Amiens, Geneva, Bern, Zürich, Lugano, Basel, Lecco ( northern Italy), Brussels and Warshaw. They performed in Oslo, Stockholm(?) and Copenhagen, Frankfurt, Amsterdam, London ( Royal Albert Hall) and Birmingham and Manchester.
On the 9th of May 1966 he flew to Japan for nine concerts. On te 16th of May he returned to the States for some more US concerts.
During this European tour several concerts were recorded on film - well known are the Oslo and Copenhagen shots, but I found some film fragments that are less known. First of all a fragment probably made at the start of the concert at the Palais de la Mutualité in Paris (France) on the 20th of March, 1966. These two fragments are from a French broadcast, which makes the quality rather poor, but the shots are great. The Thelonious Monk Quartet featured Monk at the piano, Charlie Rouse on tenor saxophone, Larry Gales on bass and Ben Riley on drums. The first shot was made from the very beginnings, behind the curtains, and includes some preparations before the concerts starts, which gives it that special feeling as if you are part of the performance. Great!

The tune that is played is Lulu's Back in Town. The second fragment was made during the same performance but with another camera.

In Warshaw (Poland) two concerts were schedulded and the concert was registered by the Polish television. In the Thelonious Monk biography Straight No Chaser, author Leslie Gourse describes what happened when Monk and Nellie, his wife, and the members of the band, visited, as tourists, a Polish palace. He describes that visitors had to wear slippers over their shoes to prevent the floors for damaging. When they visited the bedroom of the queen Monk climbed over the ropes, that were around the bed and layed down ......... Nellie screamed and Ben Riley, who heard her screaming, runned to the bedroom and shouted to Monk: What are you doing, motherfucker? You can't lie down there. It's a national treasure. Monk explained: I just wanted to see what the bitch saw.
Thelonious Monk and Charlie Rouse.
Finaly I love to share with you the same tune, now recorded in Warshaw, that opened the concerts: Lulu's Back in Town in two film fragments.

When Monk was playing in Europe he loved to visit the Baroness Pannonica de Koenigswarter, Nica for short. She was a wealthy woman who was fascinated by jazz and its musicians. She was like a godmother to them. I love to tell more about her later due to the fact that I obtained a copy of her book Les Musiciens de jazz et leurs trois voeux. ( = Jazz musicians and their three wishes.)
Hans Koert

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Blogger Tobias L. Thaler said...

hey thanks for this one!! great blog!
have a look at my place. i'm reading kelley's monk biography at the moment and i'm gonna share some of it from time to time...

10:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You forgot to mention that the group also played Düsseldorf on April 20, 1966 !

5:05 PM  

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