July 8, 2007 in Nation/World

In Passing

The Spokesman-Review
 
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Randolph
(Full-size photo)

Nashville

Boots Randolph, saxophonist

Boots Randolph, a versatile saxophonist best remembered for his 1963 recording of “Yakety Sax,” whose zany melody spiced the girl-chasing comedy sketches of TV star Benny Hill, died of a cerebral hemorrage Tuesday in Nashville. He was 80.

Starting in the late 1950s, Randolph’s saxophone abilities brought him to prominence as one of Nashville’s elite back-up, or session, players known as the A-Team. He became a vital part of the “Nashville Sound” that blended country and pop influences.

He was featured on such bubblegum hits as singer Brenda Lee’s “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” and “I’m Sorry”; Elvis Presley’s first post-Army release, “Elvis is Back!” (1960), featuring the bluesy “Reconsider Baby”; and singer Roy Orbison’s “Mean Woman Blues” and “Oh, Pretty Woman.”

Randolph’s association with such stars launched his prolific solo career in country-influenced rock, jazz and gospel. For years, he maintained a schedule of more than 200 annual recordings and concert dates and made dozens of solo albums that skipped across genres.

Chicago

Johnny Frigo, jazz musician

Johnny Frigo, a highly respected jazz violinist and bassist who helped start the Soft Winds Trio and co-wrote such standards as “Detour Ahead” and “I Told You I Love You, Now Get Out,” died Thursday at Weiss Memorial Hospital in Chicago, after suffering complications from a fall. He was 90.

After playing in Jimmy Dorsey’s big band, Frigo formed the Soft Winds jazz trio in 1947 with two Dorsey colleagues, guitarist Herb Ellis and pianist Lou Carter. The Soft Winds was not a major commercial success during its five-year existence, but the trio developed a fine reputation in later years among aficionados.

Frigo spent much of his career in Chicago, his hometown, as a backup bass player on radio and studio bands as well as on commercial jingles and in nightclubs, especially Mister Kelly’s. He accommodated a variety of musical styles, performing with such strikingly different jazz entertainers as clarinetist Pee Wee Russell, guitarist Charlie Byrd and bassist Oscar Pettiford as well as singers Barbra Streisand, Dinah Washington, Helen Merrill and Mahalia Jackson.

The flamboyant Frigo became a favorite with Spokane audiences when he appeared at three annual “Jazz Violin Summit” concerts at The Met in 2001 through 2003.

Berkeley, Calif.

Peter Lyman, Internet researcher

Peter Lyman, a professor emeritus of the University of California at Berkeley’s School of Information who was known for his research on online information and social networks on the Internet, has died.

Lyman, 66, who also was a former University of Southern California and UC Berkeley university librarian, died of brain cancer Monday at his home in Berkeley.

For people who feel overwhelmed by information overload, research conducted by a team led by Lyman and fellow UC Berkeley School of Information professor Hal Varian discovered some staggering numbers a few years ago to show why.

According to their widely cited study “How Much Information?,” worldwide information production increased at an average rate of 30 percent each year from 1999 to 2002.

The amount of new information stored on paper, film, optical and magnetic media doubled during those three years, the researchers reported. And, they said, if the supply of new material saved in 2002 alone were converted to print, it would fill half a million libraries the size of the Library of Congress.

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