Thelonius Monk’s Muse
“The Jazz Baroness” is a made-for-television documentary that traces the background and mutual influence of the inventor of Bebop, Thelonius Monk, and his great supporter, muse and mentor — Baroness Pannonica de Koenigswarter, also known as Nica Rothschild. Abandoning her husband, children and famous banking family in the late 1940s, she came to New York to become an aristocrat of a different kind: jazz nobility. The film makes its American debut November 25 on HBO2 and its director, Hannah Rothschild — Nica’s great-niece — recently sat down with the Forward’s art and culture editor to discuss cool cats, Rothschild secrets and what she’d learned from researching the woman Clint Eastwood said fully embraced the “rebellion” of Jazz and Bebop.
Watch the first few minutes of “The Jazz Baroness”: