Jazz Beat: Yo La Tengo, Stanley Cowell, Jon Faddis ...

Ambient popsters Yo La Tengo hook up with some fiery jazz horn players.

When ambient popsters Yo La Tengo told their pal, producer Steven Joerg, that they wanted to work with some horns, Joerg said, "Boy, do I have a horn section for you." Joerg, who manages sax colossus David S. Ware and puts on New York's fantastic Vision Festival, turned Yo La Tengo onto the horn players in the tonality-be-damned jazz band Other Dimensions in Music: saxophonists Daniel Carter and Sabir Mateen and trumpeter Roy Campbell. The result is a limited-edition 7-inch vinyl double set of 45s — that's right, 45 rpm, so drag that old turntable out of the closet. The discs feature original Yo La Tengo music available nowhere else and must be ordered from AUM Fidelity: P.O. Box 170147, Brooklyn, NY 11217. Send $6.50 check or money order plus $1.50 postage. ...

Pianist and educator Stanley Cowell dragged six grand pianos and three electric keyboards onto the University of Maryland's Tawes Theatre stage Saturday night for Piano Choir concert in which nine players, including Cowell, worked out together on Thelonious Monk's "Straight No Chaser." Sonicnet.com Contributing Editor Bob Margolis reports that "virtually every melodic, rhythmic and harmonic variation was explored" in the piece, which did not come across as mere novelty. The other players were Billy Taylor, Joanne Brackeen, Hilton Ruiz, Geoff Keezer, Nat Jones, James Williams, Mulgrew Miller and Sonelius Smith. ...

On Saturday (June 10) trumpeter Jon Faddis will conduct the San Francisco Symphony in a "Salute to the Duke," a tribute to Duke Ellington that's part of the symphony's ambitious American Mavericks Festival running June 7–24. The show will be at Davies Symphony Hall. ...

San Jose, Calif., the city south of San Francisco that gets no respect, has a pretty decent jazz festival running August 9–13. Artists include Cuban piano genius Gonzalo Rubalcaba, trumpeter Roy Hargrove, guitarist Larry Coryell, conga player Poncho Sanchez, saxophonist Richie Cole's Alto Madness and many other acts. For more information on the AT&T San Jose Jazz Festival, visit the event's Web site (www.sanjosejazz.org/festival). ...

Rubalcaba shows up as a sideman on the new Milestone CD from Brazilian vocalist Ithamara Koorax (pronounced ee-ta-MAR-ah KOR-ax): Serenade in Blue, her U.S. debut. The 35-year-old Rio native has recorded five previous discs under her own name in Brazil and Japan, where she regularly tours. Her 1995 CD Rio Vermelho included the final recorded performance of the late composer Antonio Carlos Jobim. Other players on Serenade in Blue include percussionist Dom Um Romao, Eumir Deodato ("2001: A Space Odyssey"), who co-produced two selections, and pianist/composer Marcos Valle. ...

Bassist Alan Silva, legendary for his radical recordings with pianist Cecil Taylor and saxophonist Albert Ayler in the '60s, has spent most of the past 35 years living in France. Fresh from playing the amazing Vision Festival in New York, Silva will make a rare appearance June 15 in San Francisco, where he'll play with various musicians, including alto player Marco Eneidi and drummer Donald Robinson, at the Luggage Store Gallery. The following day he'll perform at the Oakland Asian Cultural Center. For more info on these and other ear-bending performances in the San Francisco area, check the Web (www.bayimproviser.com). ...

Swing revivalists take note: The real thing may be coming your way. Keely Smith, the 68-year-old "Queen of Las Vegas Swing," is back in the groove with a new CD, Swing, Swing, Swing, and a series of shows. The singer who made her name with the Louis Prima Orchestra is probably now best known for her tune "Jump, Jive an' Wail," which was used in a Gap commercial. Keely played on Thursday (June 1) at Bimbo's in San Francisco and on Wednesday (June 7) will hit the House of Blues in Chicago, the House of Blues in New Orleans on June 10 and New York's Irving Plaza on June 14. ...

Peruvian singer Susana Baca will highlight material from her new Eco de Sombras album, on erstwhile rocker David Byrne's Luaka Bop label, at Joe's Pub in New York June 14–16. Guests at the shows will include organist John Medeski, guitarist Marc Ribot and Byrne. ...

Rhino Records will release Rhapsodies in Black: Music and Words from the Harlem Renaissance — a four-CD set documenting the vibrant culture of uptown Manhattan during the early 20th century — in November. Music by Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington and Cab Calloway will be featured along with poetry from the era read by such current artists as rappers Chuck D and Coolio and soul specialist Quincy Jones. ...

Controversy surrounds the awards segment of Billboard magazine's BET on Jazz Conference and Awards, the industry convention setting up in Washington, D.C., on June 7–9. The awards, which in previous years had been voted on by combinations of critics and industry folk, will this year be determined largely by sales data supplied by SoundScan, owned by Billboard. In other words, no surprises, bring on Diana Krall, and who needs anyone's opinion? Both the BET and BET on Jazz channels plan on televising the ceremony. Aside from handing out trophies, the conference will feature panel discussions on subjects such as the selling of jazz in a hip-hop age and what to do with jazz radio. A few jazz musicians, such as pianist Herbie Hancock and saxophonist Stanley Turrentine, will perform.

The Black Entertainment Television channel dubs June Black Music Month and celebrates via BET movies, with 14 feature films, documentaries and concerts on the roster. Hosted by bassist Stanley Clarke, the films include:

"Sweet Love, Bitter," starring Dick Gregory and based loosely on the life of Charlie Parker, June 6, 6:25 p.m.

"Funny Valentines," starring Alfre Woodard and scored by Stanley Clarke, June 8, 8 p.m.

"Say Amen, Somebody," a documentary on gospel music, June 11, 12:35 p.m.

"Ain't Misbehavin'," a musical tribute to Fats Waller, June 19, 8 p.m.

"Can't You Hear the Wind Howl," a documentary on the life of guitarist Robert Johnson, June 20, 1:30 p.m.

"Lush Life," starring Forest Whitaker and Jeff Goldblum as two jazz musicians, June 21, 8 p.m.

Singer Dianne Reeves and trumpeter Clark Terry will be joining trumpeter Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Center Orchestra in their Fourth of July blowout tribute to Louis Armstrong, part of the Liberty State Park Music and Heritage Festival, in the shadow of the Statue of Liberty. ...

The San Francisco Jazz Festival, running Oct. 25 through Nov. 5 in venues around the city, has announced a few dates. Singers Abbey Lincoln and Jimmy Scott will open the festival at the Masonic Auditorium, R&B legends Lou Rawls and Ruth Brown will sing on Oct. 27 at the Masonic, and the same night the Herbst Theatre will host a double bill of the Lee Konitz-Paul Bley duo and Trio 3, featuring alto saxophonist Oliver Lake, bassist Reggie Workman and drummer Andrew Cyrille. On Nov. 5 at Herbst it's harmonica ace Toots Thielemans' "Jazz in Brasil," and on Nov. 19 guitarist John McLaughlin and tabla master Zakir Hussain revive their group Shakti. ...

Jimmy Scott clearly has a thing for the San Francisco Bay Area. He'll also perform in the city June 22 at the Great American Music Hall and the following night at Sweetwater's in Marin County. Little Jimmy is the subject this week of National Public Radio's "Jazz Profiles" (check with your local station for exact date and time of broadcast). Produced by Njemile Carol Jones, the program is hosted by singer Nancy Wilson, who says she owes her entire singing style to Little Jimmy, who turns 75 in July. Scott's new CD, Mood Indigo, featuring saxophonist Hank Crawford, guitarist Joe Beck and pianist Cyrus Chestnut, is due from Fantasy Records in June. On Aug. 10–12, Scott sets up at New York's Birdland. ...

Concord Records has tapped its vast Latin jazz library for a series of six Colors of Latin Jazz CDs, featuring such players as vibesman Cal Tjader, percussion legends Mongo Santamaria and Tito Puente, singer/pianist Tania Maria, conguero Poncho Sanchez and many others. The Colors of Latin Jazz discs are subtitled A Latin Vibe, Soul Sauce, Corcorvado, From Samba to Bomba!, Sabroso! and Cubop!. ...

— sonicnet.com staff report