Jones, Thorne Firm up brand

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NEW YORK — Quincy Jones has announced a joint venture with the Robert Thorne Co. to launch a new lifestyle brand and digital media platform based on his six-decade career. The new company also has hired the Firm, Jones' first-ever management agency, to help develop a new slate of film and TV projects.

The new company, called Quincy Jones Enterprises, has brought on Brand Central as its licensing agency to develop a broad array of merchandise ranging from professional and consumer audio to fashion apparel reflecting Jones' "well-regarded style, taste and panache" to men's health and grooming products as well as home furnishings and music education books. The merchandising program will launch at the Licensing Show, which opens today in New York.

"My work in music, film, television and currently on Broadway with 'The Color Purple' has been embraced by so many over the decades, and my new slate of film and television projects continues in that tradition," Jones said. "My initiatives in lifestyle branding and digital media will be the next chapter along with my continuing priority of helping children of all cultures."

Jones will jointly own the new company with Robert Thorne — credited with building the Olsen twins into a multibillion-dollar entertainment and merchandising brand — and his business partner Greg Redlitz. Jones will serve as chairman, Thorne as CEO and Redlitz as president.

"Our new company will be building a brand extension of Quincy, which in conjunction with Brand Central … will be seizing all the history and legacy of Quincy Jones," Thorne said. "What the brand licensing program will do will be to encapture all the hip and cool aspects for Quincy Jones and the familiarity and popularity of what he's done and all the A-listers he's done it with and turn that energy into a program of products."

Thorne will be overseeing Jones' entertainment projects, licensing program and Web initiative, which will launch in the fall at QuincyJones.com. The site will offer access to Quincy's Vault, featuring rare and previously unreleased outtakes of Jones' work with such acclaimed artists as Frank Sinatra, Michael Jackson, Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin and Celine Dion. It also will feature digital replicas of Jones' original scores and rare behind-the scenes photos of Jones at work as well as "Quincy's Academy" of music education and social networking aimed at aspiring artists, producers and entertainment industry professionals.

As part of the overall plan to build the Quincy Jones brand, Jones has hired the Firm as his first management company. He continues to be represented by Sean Perry of Endeavor.

"What really drew us to work with him was how appealing his projects were and their quality in both the past and the present," said Adam Shulman, a manager in the Firm's film and television department. "He has some great projects we're going to help him get made. Quincy Jones truly is a legend, and we're really overjoyed and honored to be working with him."

Jones' TV projects in development include a special celebrating his upcoming 75th birthday in March, his participation as ambassador of next year's Grammy Awards 50th Anniversary TV special and a documentary series chronicling the history of American music through Jones' eyes. His film projects include a feature about his life based on his autobiography; the recently announced "Brazil Carnaval," being directed by Brett Ratner; "Mammy Pleasant," based on the life of a freed slave who became the first black female millionaire; and "Policy Kings," based on a book about black gangsters in Chicago in the 1920s-40s.

Co-chairmen Rick Yorn and Jeff Kwatinetz will lead the Firm team along with Shulman, Constance Schwartz and Kai Henry.
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