Jazz Beat: Herbie Hancock, Branford Marsalis, Fourplay ...

Fantasy Records reissues classic fingerpicking album by Peter Lang.

Party at Mayor Giuliani's! Pianist Herbie Hancock, saxophonist Branford Marsalis and others will perform at this year's J&R Downtown JazzFest on Aug. 24–26 at New York's City Hall Park. The free event will also include performances by guitarist Jeff Golub and saxophonists Joe Lovano and David Sanchez. J&R Music will host a Tech Expo in its retail complex across the street, at which technology companies will show off their wares and host seminars. ...

Gilles Thibault, who co-wrote "Comme D'Habitude" — the song Paul Anka turned into "My Way" — died Aug. 2 in Paris at age 72, Billboard reported. The former jazz trumpeter's cause of death is unknown. "My Way" has been recorded by acts ranging from Frank Sinatra to the Sex Pistols' Sid Vicious. ...

Contempo faves Fourplay will start a nationwide tour on Friday (Aug. 11) at the Trump Marina in Atlantic City, N.J. The tour, continuing through Oct. 15, is in support of their Aug. 22 release, Yes, Please! Fourplay consist of pianist Bob James, bassist Nathan East, guitarist Larry Carlton and drummer Harvey Mason. The veteran smooth-jazz group won Grammy Awards for their albums Elixir and Between the Sheets. ...

South African trumpeter Hugh Masekela, pianist Kenny Barron and drummer Chico Hamilton will headline this year's Sunnyside Jazz Festival, Aug. 26–27 in Tarrytown, N.Y. Located 45 minutes north of the city, the shows will take place on the Washington Irving property. Concertgoers will also be able to visit the house and museum of the "Legend of Sleepy Hollow" author. Other performers include guitarist Gil Parris and saxophonists Jimmy Heath and Sonny Fortune. ...

With acoustic-guitar ace Richard Leo Johnson's new one due from Blue Note next month, it's interesting to note that Fantasy has just reissued a seminal 1972 fingerpicking album by Peter Lang, an associate of John Fahey and Leo Kottke. The Thing at the Nursery Room Window, originally out on the Takoma label, sports extra tracks and liner notes by Lang. ...

Move over Brubecks — the Coryells, consisting of guitarist papa Larry and his guitarist sons Julian and Murali, perform at the Boston jazz club Scullers on Aug. 23. Brian Torff will play bass, Kenwood Dennard drums. The group's CD, The Coryells, is available from Chesky Records. ...

Evidence Records will release four reissues and a double-disc set of previously unavailable recordings from the late, great, space-warped big-band leader Sun Ra on Sept. 26. The CDs include Greatest Hits: Easy Listening for Intergalactic Travel, When Angels Speak of Love, Lanquidity, Pathways to Unknown Worlds and The Great Lost Sun Ra Albums: Cymbals and Crystal Spears. Cymbals and Crystal Spears originally were produced for the Impulse label. ...

In other Sun Ra news, the Atavistic label has released Spaceways Incorporated: Thirteen Cosmic Standards by Sun Ra & Funkadelic, performed by a Chicago power trio of saxophonist Ken Vandermark, bassist Nate McBride and drummer Hamid Drake. Sun Ra started his career in Chicago (after departing Saturn, of course) and was a huge influence on all the creative strands that have emerged from the Windy City, including the Art Ensemble of Chicago. ...

Rocker Lenny Kravitz and Medeski Martin & Wood bassist Chris Wood sat in with saxophonist Karl Denson's Tiny Universe during the band's show Saturday (Aug. 5) at New York's Bowery Ballroom. Denson, who served as a sideman for Kravitz on his debut album Let Love Rule(1989) and its follow-up, Mama Said(1991), is amid a U.S. solo tour that wraps at San Francisco's Fillmore Auditorium on Sept. 22–23 before he heads back out Oct. 6 in Philadelphia. Actor Denzel Washington also was in attendance at the Bowery. ...

French horn specialist and composer David Amram will be honored Aug. 12 by the Hollywood Arts Council as part of this year's Jazz Pilgrimage Series in Tinsel Town. Trumpeter Jack Sheldon, trombonist Bob Enevoldsen, saxophonist Lanny Morgan and others will join Amram as they perform music from the score he composed for the Jack Kerouac film "Pull My Daisy." The event, titled "Hipsters, Jazz and the Beat Generation," will have images, film clips and readings that pay tribute to the Beat generation. For more information, check out www.discoverhollywood.com/arts.htm. ...

Blue Note will open its new club and cafe Aug. 17 in Las Vegas with inaugural performances by singer Lou Rawls and Nancy Wilson throughout the weekend. Also booked into the club are the Duke Ellington Orchestra, singer Cassandra Wilson, pianist Chick Corea, guitarist Pat Metheny and saxophonist David Sanborn. This is the latest addition to the Blue Note franchise. Currently, there is one Blue Note in New York, three in Japan and one is expected to open in Seoul, South Korea. The organization is also looking at Paris, Rome, and three more U.S. cities as possible venue sites. For more information, see www.bluenotejazz.com. ...

Pianist Jon Jang, Circle of Fire featuring tabla master Zakir Hussain, Melody of China and saxophonist Francis Wong are performing at this year's Asian American Jazz Festival in the San Francisco Bay Area on Sept. 22–24. The event also will be host to the world premiere of "Wave Twister" — an animation film written, produced and composed by DJ Qbert formerly of Invisibl Skratch Piklz and illustrated by graffiti artist Doug Cunningham. Visit www.asianart.org/programs/performances.htm for more information. ...

Looks like the Buena Vista Social Club film and CD have fomented Cuban jazz fever in Japan. Guitarist Eliades Ochoa singer Ibrahim Ferrer, pianist Ruben Gonzales and singer Omara Portuondo are all scheduled for performances in Japan before the end of the summer. Juan de Marcos Gonzales' Afro-Cuban Allstars also will head to the Far East for a tour starting in October. ...

Singer extraordinaire Jimmy Scott, resurgent saxophonist Stanley Turrentine and Satchmo trumpet devotee Kermit Ruffins and his Barbecue Swingers are among the jazz acts at the Ann Arbor (Mich.) Blues & Jazz Festival Sept. 15–17. For more info check out http://a2.blues.jazzfest.org/hist/2000/2000.html. ...

Drum master Andrew Cyrille, saxophonist Ellery Eskelin and former Mother's of Invention pianist Don Preston are among the artists at the Spruce Street Forum Music Series Oct. 14 through Dec 16 in San Diego. The event consists of six concerts with musicians from the United States, Canada and Europe. Other performers include saxophonist Oliver Lake, drummer Han Bennink, pianist Paul Plimley and percussionist Le Quan Ninh. For more info, visit www.sprucestreetforum.com/index.zhtml?action=music. ...

— sonicnet.com staff report