Lee Konitz

In an alternate timeline, I know precisely how I would have spent the evening of April 17. The dynamic South African pianist Nduduzo Makhathini had been booked for an album-release engagement at Dizzy's Club, the in-house nightclub at Jazz at Lincoln Center. I was looking forward to hearing his band in that room — not only because Makhathini's stateside appearances are few and far between, but also because the urgent, questing spirit of his music is something best experienced in person and in close quarters, as a form of communion.

Lee Konitz, the prolific jazz saxophonist who maintained a singular style and devotion to improvisation throughout a career that stretched more than 70 years, died on Wednesday at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York at the age of 92. His son, Josh Konitz, confirmed to NPR that the cause was pneumonia related to COVID-19.