Other Notable Deaths

OTHER NOTABLE DEATHS

June 11, 2006

Hilton Ruiz, 54, a jazz pianist and composer who excelled in a wide variety of styles from Afro-Cuban rhythms to the blues, died Tuesday in New Orleans.

He had come to New Orleans from his home in Teaneck, N.J., to work on a Hurricane Katrina benefit project and had been comatose since he fell in front of a French Quarter bar early May 19.

Trained in classical music as well as jazz, he played at Carnegie Hall when he was 8 years old. His first recording, at age 14, was with a group called Ray Jay and the East Siders. His teachers included jazz pianist and composer Mary Lou Williams; in his early 20s, he worked with saxophone player Rahsaan Roland Kirk.

Johnny Grande, 76, an original member of Bill Haley and the Comets who played piano on their hit "Rock Around The Clock," died June 3 at his home in Clarksville, Tenn.

He had recorded more than 40 records, including four that went gold. He played piano on hits like "See You Later, Alligator" and "Rockin' Through the Rye."

He helped arrange albums like Rockin' Around the World.

"Rock Around the Clock" was recorded in 1954 and was a No. 1 hit for eight weeks before going on to sell 22 million copies worldwide, according to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum.

It gained new popularity when it was chosen for the soundtracks of the movies The Blackboard Jungle in 1955, a film named for the song in 1956 and American Graffiti in 1974.

Mr. Grande was inducted into the Rockabilly Hall of Fame in 1997.

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