Jazz Beat: Shirley Scott, ICP Orchestra, George Mraz ...

Bassist Mraz to play Czech tunes on his own album and Croat tunes on Helen Merrill's.

Pianist/organist Shirley Scott, 66, will receive the mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation's 2000 Jazz Living Legacy Award in a ceremony this fall at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. Each year the award goes to a jazz musician who has devoted his or her life to jazz education. ...

The Netherlands' venerable seriocomic ICP Orchestra — led by pianist Misha Mengelberg and drummer Han Bennink — will tour North America for about a week beginning Aug. 31. The tour will start at the New York club Tonic, hit Chicago, then the West Coast, stopping in Portland, Ore., the San Francisco Bay Area and Vancouver, British Columbia. Mengelberg and Bennink will stick around after the tour to do some shows of their own — including one with trumpeter Dave Douglas and bassist Brad Jones at New York's Iridium Sept. 19–24. ...

Stalwart bassist George Mraz is keeping busy these days. The Czech enters the Fantasy/Milestone studios Aug. 2 to record Czech Mate, an album of jazzed-up tunes from his homeland. Produced by Todd Barkan, the disc will feature Billy Hart on drums, Emil Viklicky on piano and Zuzana Lapcikova on vocals and cymablom. ... Mraz also shows up on another return-to-Eastern-Europe-roots CD: singer Helen Merrill's Jelena Ana Milcetic, a.k.a. Helen Merrill. Merrill, née Milcetic, was born to Croat parents, and the CD — which features soprano saxophonist Steve Lacy on a few cuts — reflects her roots with a mix of jazz and traditional Croatian music. Verve releases the CD on July 18. ...

Brazilian singing star Marisa Monte's new CD, due Aug. 15 from Blue Note, has a rather unwieldy name: Memories, Chronicles and Declarations of Love Texts, Proofs and Denials. The CD will feature New York jazz hep cats Mark Ribot on guitar and Joey Baron on drums. ... Princes of crossover Medeski Martin & Wood plug back in for The Dropper — due Oct. 24 on Blue Note. The group's most recent CD, Tonic, is acoustic, live and has been on the Billboard Top Jazz albums chart top 25 for several weeks. ...

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. ... 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. ...

"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. ...

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