REUTERS - The son of the late jazz great Thelonious Monk has sued a northern California brewery to stop it from exploiting his father’s memory to sell a Trappist-style beer and related merchandise.
According to Tuesday’s complaint, Thelonious Monk Jr. had verbally granted North Coast Brewing Co permission to use his father’s name, image and likeness for the sale of Brother Thelonious Belgian Style Abbey Ale, in exchange for donating some profits to the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz.
But Monk said he revoked that permission in January 2016 after learning that North Coast was selling at least 17 other items referencing his father, including cups, hoodies, mouse pads, soap, t-shirts and tap handles.
Monk said he insisted that North Coast enter a merchandising agreement and pay royalties to his father’s estate, but that the Fort Bragg, California-based brewery has changed nothing.
“The harm caused to the Monk Estate has been irreparable,” the complaint said.
A lawyer for North Coast did not immediately respond on Wednesday to requests for comment.
Monk is seeking compensatory and punitive damages for North Coast’s alleged trademark infringement, unjust enrichment, and violation of California’s right of publicity. The complaint was filed in San Francisco federal court.
Brother Thelonious is a dark mahogany ale with 9.4 percent alcohol by volume. Its label features its namesake holding a glass of beer, with piano keys behind his head.
Thelonious Sphere Monk was one of jazz’s most influential musicians, known for such songs as “‘Round Midnight,” and helped develop the style known as bebop. He died in 1982 at age 64, and would have turned 100 on Oct. 10 of this year.
Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Bill Rigby