Lee Konitz, 92, an alto saxophonist who was an innovative figure in jazz for more than 70 years and was the last surviving member of the groundbreaking “Birth of the Cool” recordings of the 1940s, died Wednesday at a hospital in New York City. The cause was complications from the coronavirus.
Konitz came of musical age during the bebop movement, which revolutionized jazz in the 1940s with its fast-paced rhythmic drive and harmonic innovations, pioneered by the trailblazing saxophonist Charlie Parker. Konitz, however, went in a different musical direction, developing improvised solos that seemed to float like clouds, structured not as bursts of sound but as well-wrought musical sculptures.
Konitz was one of the key musicians, along with Davis and baritone saxophonist Gerry Mulligan and others, who recorded “Birth of the Cool” in 1949 and 1950. Issued in 1957, the album is considered a landmark. Konitz’s lyrical solos on several tunes, including “Moon Dreams,” “Israel” and “Move,” helping define a restrained, “cool” style of jazz, personified by Davis, Mulligan, Dave Brubeck, Paul Desmond and others.
Brian Dennehy, 81, burly actor who started in films as a macho heavy and later in his career won plaudits for his stage work in plays by William Shakespeare, Anton Chekhov, Eugene O’Neill and Arthur Miller, died Wednesday night of natural causes in New Haven, Connecticut.
Known for his broad frame, booming voice and ability to play good guys and bad guys with equal aplomb, Mr. Dennehy won two Tony Awards, a Golden Globe and a Laurence Olivier Award, and was nominated for six Emmys. He was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame in 2010. His film career amassed an eclectic list of 40-odd films.
Dámaso García, 63, the former Toronto Blue Jays second baseman and two-time All-Star in the mid-1980s, died Wednesday in his native Dominican Republic, in Santo Domingo. Two years after retiring with the Montreal Expos, García was diagnosed with a brain tumor and underwent surgery in 1991. He was told he possibly only had six to eight months live. He recovered, but had to deal with speech and mobility issues afterward.
Willie Davis, 85, a Pro Football Hall of Fame defensive lineman who helped the Green Bay Packers win each of the first two Super Bowls, has died in a Santa Monica, California hospital. He was being treated for kidney failure. The Packers confirmed Davis’ death to the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Wednesday.
Davis helped the Packers win the NFL championship in 1965 before capping the 1966 and 1967 seasons with titles in the first two Super Bowls.
Hank Steinbrenner, 63, the oldest son of George Steinbrenner and one of the four siblings who own the controlling shares of the New York Yankees, died Tuesday, at home in Clearwater, Florida, due to a long-standing health issue. A chain smoker and miniature drag racer, Hank hoped to succeed his father as the team’s controlling owner. Between the 2007 and 2008 seasons, he became the public voice of the Yankees’ ownership. But brother Hal, 11 years younger, was put in charge in November 2008
Tarvaris Jackson, 36, the former Seahawks quarterback, whose toughness as a starter to play through injury in 2011 and willingness to adapt to a backup role when the team won the Super Bowl in the 2013 season endeared him to teammates and coaches alike, has died in a car accident on Easter Sunday, April 12, roughly seven miles from his native Montgomery, Ala. Jackson was serving as the quarterbacks coach at Tennessee State University.
Jackson played 59 games in an NFL career that spanned from 2006 to 2015. He started 34 games, including 14 with Seattle in 2011, Carroll’s second season as coach of the Seahawks.
Jackie Court, 81, who was the first woman of color hired to coach at Brown University, died on Easter Sunday, April 12. The cause of death was not available.
Court was a public schoolteacher when the Ivy League school hired her and she went on to serve as the head gymnastics coach for more than 30 years until her retirement in 2001. She was a two-time East Coast Athletic Conference coach of the year honors and the NCAA’s Northeast coach of the year in 1999. he National Association of Collegiate Gymnastics Coaches honored her in 1994 with a Special Service Award.
Barbara Prentice Blethen, 99, the wife of late Seattle Times publisher, John A. “Jack” Blethen, died April 11. She was known to her loved ones as a practical woman, who loved a good joke and never missed her daily walk, her daily swim, followed to a trip to the market. But most of all, she is remembered as a loving grandmother, who made childhood feel magical and her charges loved.
Craig Gilbert, 94, who created what is widely considered to have been the first reality television show, “An American Family,” in 1973 and then all but disappeared from public view amid a storm of criticism and lasting, bitter disputes among its participants, died on April 10 at his home in Lower Manhattan. In the early 1970s, his films about anthropologist Margaret Mead and disabled Irish writer Christy Brown were well regarded. While a producer at WNET, the New York public television outlet, he came up with the idea, at a time when narrative journalism was on the rise, to follow a real American family for months, capturing moments mundane and emotional in an unvarnished, unrehearsed style known as cinema verité.