Lucky Thompson and Al McKibbon
Two of the last surviving musicians who took part in the birth of bebop passed away recently - bassist Al McKibbon and saxophonist Lucky Thompson. McKibbon replaced Ray Brown in Dizzy Gillespie's band, was on the famous "Birth of the Cool" sessions, worked with Thelonious Monk, and was an innovator in latin jazz. He made his first album as a leader in 1999. He was 86 years old.
Lucky Thompson was one of the first tenor players (along with Dexter Gordon) to adapt the larger saxophone to the bebop ideas of Charlie Parker, and his revolutionary style on alto. He recorded with Charlie Parker on Bird's famous "Dial" sessions, was on the classic Miles Davis hard bop album "Walkin", and was an innovator in bringing the soprano saxophone back into modern jazz (before John Coltrane). After a decade or so spent living in Europe, Thomspon's late career was somewhat tragic, as he left the musical world decades ago and later faced a long battle with Alzheimer's disease. He was 81 years old.