EmptyAndrew Hill, a groundbreaking pianist and composer known for his complex free-jazz style, died April 20 at his home in Jersey City, N.J. He was 75.
He released the album "Time Lines" in early 2006, a farewell that earned him album of the year honors from Down Beat magazine.
Hill was widely praised within the jazz community; Blue Note founder Alfred Lion once described him as "the next Thelonious Monk."
Hill came to New York in 1961 to work with singer Dinah Washington. In 1963, he began a long association with Blue Note, where he released a series of postbop albums that included the 1964 "Point of Departure."
Hill spent most of the '70s and '80s teaching, releasing only occasional albums. After nearly a decade away from recording, he resurfaced in recent years with three new albums: "Dusk," with his Point of Departure Sextet in 2000; "A Beautiful Day" in 2002; and "Time Lines."
Dakota Staton, a highly regarded jazz vocalist known for her soulful interpretations and for her bluesy 1957 album "The Late, Late Show," died April 10 in New York. She was 76.
Staton toured with Benny Goodman, pianist George Shearing and the singer she regarded as a major influence, Dinah Washington. She recorded more than two dozen albums.
Janet Meyer, one of the first female film editors in Hollywood, died April 20 of cancer. She was 85.
Meyer came to Hollywood to work for Jack Wrather Prods. Not long after, she began to show signs of deafness. She continued to edit until 1954, when her loss of hearing caused a move to the Film Library at what is now CBS Radford. She managed the library until she retired.
In 1983, Meyer ended her retirement and opened Cameo Film Library, which eventually represented all the film stock for MGM, Columbia, TriStar and Morgan Creek, among many others.
Jean-Pierre Cassel, a French actor who starred in more than 110 movies, died April 19 in Paris after a long illness. He was 74.
Cassel got his break when he was discovered by Gene Kelly, who cast him in "The Happy Road" in 1957. He subsequently rose to fame starring in film comedies in the 1960s.
He went on to work with such major directors as Robert Altman, Luis Bunuel, Jean Renoir, Sydney Lumet, Claude Chabrol and Richard Attenborough, enjoying the onscreen affections of Brigitte Bardot, Catherine Deneuve and Marie Dubois, among others.
Richard E. Reilly, who worked in the film industry for 37 years beginning in 1954, died April 9 in Simi Valley, Calif. He was 89.
He worked at Four Star Television, 20th Century Fox, Spelling-Goldberg and Orion TV, retiring as postproduction supervisor for "Cagney & Lacey" in 1989.
His credits include administrative editor for 26 episodes of "The Big Valley."
Ken Albers, who harmonized with the Four Freshmen, the vocal group that was popular in the 1950s and '60s and major influence on the Beach Boys' Brian Wilson, died April 19 in Simi Valley after a long illness, according to Ross Barbour, one of the original members of the quartet. He was 82.
Barbour, his brother Don Barbour, their cousin Bob Flanigan and Hal Kratzsch formed the close-harmony group at the Arthur Jordan Conservatory of Music at Butler University in Indiana in 1948. Albers joined the group in 1956, singing and adding trumpet, mellophone and flugelhorn.
Until 1982, he performed with the group, which had top 40 hits with "It's a Blue World," "Day by Day" and "Graduation Day," which the Beach Boys covered.