Jazz Beat: Tim Owens, Wynton Marsalis, Machito Orchestra ...

Owens is the new executive producer for jazz programming at National Public Radio.

Tim Owens has been named executive producer for jazz programming at National Public Radio. A jazz producer at the network from 1993–98, Owens co-created the "Jazz Profiles" show and pianist Billy Taylor's "Jazz at the Kennedy Center." In his new capacity Owens will oversee those shows, plus Marian McPartland's "Piano Jazz," "Jazz From Lincoln Center," "JazzSet" with saxophonist Branford Marsalis and "Jazz Riffs." ...

Trumpeter Wynton Marsalis and his Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra will perform free in New York's Central Park on Aug. 19 in the concert "Great Jazz on the Great Hill." The bill will include the Machito Orchestra under the direction of Mario Grillo. For more information go to www.jazzatlincolncenter.org. ... Leaning House Records, the Dallas jazz label that put out saxophonist Wessell Anderson's Live at the Village Vanguard CD and discs by organist Joey De Francesco and several other local acts, has folded, the Dallas Morning News reported. ...

Sept. 8 is the deadline for CD or tape submissions for those who want to enter the Great American Jazz Piano Competition. The contest is open for any acoustic jazz pianist who is without a major-label contract as a leader. Five finalists will compete for cash and a featured performance at the 21st annual WJCT Jacksonville Jazz Festival in November. For information call (904) 358-6306 or visit www.wjct.org/content.htm. ...

Canadian piano great Oscar Peterson, 74, will receive the International Music Prize 2000 from the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization at a ceremony Nov. 10 in Germany, according to the Montreal Gazette. Past winners of the prize include singer Miriam Makeba, composerLeonard Bernstein, sitarist Ravi Shankar and singer Cesaria Evora. ...

Latin jazz icons Poncho Sanchez and Pete Escovedo will perform simultaneously on opposite coasts Saturday (July 15) in an event Concord Records is calling Coast to Coast Picante. Conga master Sanchez will play at the Lincoln Center's Midsummer Night Swing Festival for a special event titled "Que Es? What is Latin Music?" Meanwhile, Escovedo will take his drum beats to San Francisco's Davies Symphony Hall. Along with Sanchez's show, Lincoln Center will host a panel discussion on Latin music, give dance lessons and present performances by Grupo Imagen, Aztex, Francisco Ulloa and Cuban flutist Maraca. The Omar Sosa Quintet and Los Moscsos will join Escovedo for his San Francisco show. ...

Ahi-Nama has released albums from three Cuban artists who are beginning to find popularity beyond their native island. The young 12-member group Bomboleo released No Que Bueno Esta, which combines hip-hop, house and Eurobeat with traditional Afro-Cuban rhythms. Laito Jr. sings the sonora on Sarandonga, and Maraca takes his years of experience with Chucho Valdés' Irakere to create the multigenre album Descarga Total!. ...

Those purchasing the live double-CD set from guitarist Pat Metheny's trio (including bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Bill Stewart), due from Warner Bros. in the fall, will have the opportunity to download a third CD's worth of Metheny music from the Internet via a mechanism yet to be determined. Stay tuned for more details. ... Artists including the late saxophonist Grover Washington Jr., singer Dianne Reeves, ex-Police-man Sting and soul/R&B artist Chaka Khan perform the music of Brazilian star Ivan Lins on A Love Affair, coming out on Telarc in the fall. ...

"Space Cowboys," a sci-fi spoof from director and jazz pianist Clint Eastwood that will hit screens next month, has some juicy tunes on its soundtrack: Saxophonist Joshua Redman performs "Hit the Road Jack," "The Second Time Around" (with strings) and "The Best Is Yet To Come"; pianist Brad Mehldau does Neil Young's "Old Man," Paul Simon's "Still Crazy After All These Years" and the Who's "My Generation"; organist Larry Goldings and sax funkster Maceo Parker play "Last Night"; and Willie Nelson sings "Still Crazy ..." and "Young at Heart." Country singer Chad Brock's version of "Take It to the Limit" will be available for downloading. The movie stars Eastwood, Tommy Lee Jones, James Garner and Donald Sutherland. ...

A CD purportedly containing the first recorded solos of alto sax genius Eric Dolphy will come out on Capitol Records in early August. The Original Ellington Suite, a previously unreleased Pacific Jazz album, is a 1958 date by the Chico Hamilton Quintet featuring guitarist John Pisano, cellist Nate Gershman, bassist Hal Gaylor and drummer Hamilton. They play "In a Mellow Tone," "Azure," "I'm Beginning to See the Light" and other Ellington staples. ...

Capitol also will release Chet Baker Quartet Live, Vol. 1, which contains two live performances: one in L.A. in 1953 and the other in Ann Arbor, Mich., in 1954. The L.A. set, featuring the tunes "All the Things You Are," "Maid in Mexico," "My Funny Valentine," "Isn't It Romantic?" and "This Time the Dream's on Me," has never been released. The other show, recorded in 1954 at the University of Michigan, was previously issued as the Pacific Jazz album Jazz at Ann Arbor. Baker's quartet consisted of pianist Russ Freeman, bassist Carson Smith and drummers Larry Bunker and Bob Neel. The Chico Hamilton and Baker CDs are produced by Michael Cuscuna. ...

Violinist Regina Carter, vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson and alto man Richie Cole will get the Jazzthere Festival in Oakland, Calif., off to a rip-roaring start July 28. The three-day affair also features sax man Teddy Edwards, piano thunderer McCoy Tyner and the Count Basie Orchestra under the direction of Grover Mitchell. Performances are at the Convention Center, except for some free shows that are at the City Center Stage. For more information, check the fest's Web site (www.oaklandjazzthere.org/schedule.html).

— sonicnet.com staff report