Ray Barretto, 76, a Grammy-winning Latin jazz percussionist known for integrating the conga drum into jazz, died yesterday in a hospital in Hackensack, N.J. He had undergone heart bypass surgery in January and suffered from pneumonia.
He won a Grammy for best Tropical Latin performance in 1989 for the song "Ritmo en el Corazon" with Celia Cruz. The following year, he was inducted into the International Latin Music Hall of Fame, and last month he was named one of the National Endowment for the Arts' Jazz Masters of 2006, the nation's highest jazz honor.
Mr. Barretto's Time Was -- Time Is, released last September, was nominated for a Grammy this year as Best Latin Jazz Album. His 1979 album Ricanstruction is considered one of the classic salsa recordings.
Mr. Barretto grew up in New York City listening to the music of Puerto Rico and to the jazz of Duke Ellington, Count Basie and Benny Goodman. In the late 1950s, he played in Tito Puente's band, and his popularity grew in the New York jazz scene. Over the years, he recorded with such musicians as Cannonball Adderley, Freddie Hubbard, Cal Tjader and Dizzy Gillespie.
Robert B. Hotz, 91, an aviation expert and writer who helped investigate NASA's role in the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger in 1986 and became a strong critic of the agency, died Feb. 9 at a hospital in Frederick of complications from Parkinson's disease. He lived on a farm in Myersville.
From 1955 to 1980, Mr. Hotz was editor in chief of Aviation Week & Space Technology, a trade publication, where he wrote editorials and became a recognized voice on space travel and military aviation.
In 1986, when the Challenger exploded soon after launching, killing all seven astronauts on board, he was appointed to an investigative panel by President Ronald Reagan. Other panel members included astronaut Neil Armstrong and Nobel laureate Richard P. Feynman.
At Aviation Week, where he was also publisher from 1976 to 1980, he recruited engineers to write for the publication and opened bureaus in Brussels, Paris and London. In 1982, he was appointed to the general advisory committee of the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, and he served there in the Reagan and first Bush administrations.
Edna Lewis, 89, the granddaughter of a slave who became a chef and the author of acclaimed cookbooks on traditional Southern cuisine, died Monday in her sleep at her home in Decatur, Ga.
She co-wrote the 2003 book The Gift of Southern Cooking, with Scott Peacock, a longtime friend. After a long career, mostly in New York, Ms. Lewis moved to the Atlanta area in 1992.
Rabbi Yehuda Chitrik, a 106-year-old Lubavitcher scholar known for his storytelling and longevity, died Tuesday at a hospital in Brooklyn, N.Y., after suffering a heart attack Feb. 8. He lived in Crown Heights, a Brooklyn neighborhood that is the hub of the worldwide Lubavitcher Hasidic movement.
A book of translations of his stories, From My Father's Shabbos Table, was published in 1991.
He was born in 1899 in Krasnolok, Russia, and was sent by his father at age 15 to the town of Lubavitch, where he studied at the central Chabad Lubavitch yeshiva until communism and persecution forced him and other scholars to leave.