George Russell, 86, a jazz composer and MacArthur fellow whose theories influenced the modal music of Miles Davis and John Coltrane, died Monday in Boston of complications from Alzheimer's. Russell played drums in Benny Carter's band and later wrote "Cubano Be/Cubano Bop" for Dizzy Gillespie's orchestra. It premiered at Carnegie Hall in 1947 and was the first fusion of Afro-Cuban rhythms with jazz. Russell developed the Lydian concept in 1953. It's credited as the first theoretical contribution from jazz. He taught at the New England Conservatory.
Jim King, 69, the former Florida Senate president who fought Gov. Jeb Bush and his own Republican Party over Terri Schiavo's right-to-die battle in 2005, died Sunday of pancreatic cancer. A feisty, plainspoken figure, King gained national attention when he helped lead a group of Republicans who blocked legislation favored by Bush that would have forced Schiavo's feeding tube to be reinserted.
Lionel Casson, 94, who melded his mastery of classical literature with the findings of underwater archaeology in scholarly but accessible books about the history of ancient seafaring, from the primitive dory to the vast armadas of the Roman Empire, died July 18 in New York City of pneumonia.