GreeneStreet jazzed about ‘Monk’

Shingle founders, musician's manager to produce pic

GreeneStreet Films will reteam with Leon Ichaso, who wrote and directed “Pinero” for the New York-based indie banner, on “Monk,” a biopic on iconoclastic jazz musician and composer Thelonious Sphere Monk and a love letter to the music he created.

GreeneStreet co-founders Fisher Stevens and John Penotti will produce with Harry Colomby, longtime manager of Monk, who is considered one of the most influential figures in jazz history. Colomby’s relationship with Monk began when he was a 21-year-old New York City high school teacher and gave the musician a ride home.

“I had no idea what lay ahead when I agreed to be his manager,” said Colomby, whose previous producing credits include “Body Shots,” “Breakdown” and “Johnny Dangerously.” “I still can’t fathom to this day why he asked me — I didn’t have a clue about managing anybody, let alone this underappreciated genius. I was just a fan.”

Added Colomby: “The passion and artistry Leon brings to all of his work will make this a memorable film — a film that Thelonious Monk more than deserves.”

Born in North Carolina in 1917 and raised in New York City, Monk had won the Apollo Theater’s weekly amateur contest so many times by age 13 that he was prohibited from entering. He was a vital part of the post-war creativity surge in Harlem and a key figure in the invention of the bebop style that revolutionized jazz.

Monk collaborated with such music greats as Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins and Charlie Rouse.

“He had the name, the look and the sound,” said Ichaso. “An interesting, uncompromising man cursed with genius; he invented cool and redefined jazz.”

GreeneStreet is in post on Sally Potter’s “Yes,” with Joan Allen and Sam Neill, and the thriller “Slow Burn,” starring Ray Liotta, LL Cool J, Mekhi Phifer, Taye Diggs and Jolene Blalock. GreeneStreet and Killer Films recently optioned bestseller “Positively Fifth Street,” which “Three Kings” screenwriter John Ridley is attached to adapt and direct.

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