By Will Friedwald
Updated December 24, 1993 at 05:00 AM EST

Although the title identifies him as Thelonious Monk: American Composer, the documentary itself explores how Monk’s remarkable music came from a mixture of composition, orchestration, and improvisation all at once. Sidemen, family members, and acolytes (filmed largely in the ruins of Minton’s, the club where Monk became one of bebop’s founding fathers and later its first counterrevolutionary) offer insights into both the creative and biographical aspects of modern music’s most elusive genius. A