Home Featured Director Alain Gomis on His Illuminating New Thelonious Monk documentary, ‘Rewind & Play’

Director Alain Gomis on His Illuminating New Thelonious Monk documentary, ‘Rewind & Play’

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Director Alain Gomis on His Illuminating New Thelonious Monk documentary, ‘Rewind & Play’


We spoke to director Alain Gomis about his stunning new Thelonious Monk documentary, Rewind & Play.

If you want an example of how the strange and unpredictable pathways of culture and its history are recorded and shaped, you could do worse than Thelonious Monk’s trip to Europe in 1969. The now legendary tour — amongst the thinning ranks of historical jazz nerds and obsessives — was regarded as a triumph for Monk. Fifteen years from his first, disappointing visit to the continent, his audience had finally caught up to his art, and he spent months that autumn and winter overseas as a grand elder statesman, playing to adoring and enthralled crowds. The tour was probably best remembered for Paris 1969, a concert recorded at the Salle Pleyel and broadcast on French television, then lived on as a bootleg — before Bluenote released it officially in 2013 — still regarded as one of the seminal late Monk recordings.

But that day, before Salle Pleyel, Thelonious Monk first stopped — without his band — to record a 30 minute television show called Jazz Portraits. He played a few compositions solo, and engaged in an unbearably awkward interview with the show’s host, a jazz pianist moonlighting as a journalist named…



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