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In Passing

Coco Schumann, a German jazz guitarist who performed alongside Ella Fitzgerald and Marlene Dietrich during a decades-long musical career, but who gave his most consequential performances as an inmate of the Nazi concentration camps where, he said, music saved his life, died on January 28 in Berlin. He was 93. Schumann's death was reported by German news agency DPA, which described Schumann as "one of Germany's most celebrated jazz musicians." "The human is a peculiar creation," Schumann once told an interviewer, reflecting on his experience during the Holocaust. "Unpredictable and merciless. What we saw in those days was unbearable, and yet we bore it. We played the tunes to it, for the sake of our bare survival. We played music in hell." Schumann had first heard and made music in what he described as the "roaring" jazz scene of Berlin, where he was born Heinz Jakob Schumann on May 14, 1924. (A French girlfriend dubbed him Coco). Washington Post.

Andre Surmain, who transformed his cooking school's Manhattan townhouse into Lutèce, an epicurean mecca defined by haute cuisine, even higher prices and a high-and-mighty clientele, has died at his home in St. Paul en Foret, in the South of France aged 97. A month after Lutèce opened in 1961, Craig Claiborne, the restaurant critic for The New York Times, described it as "impressively elegant and conspicuously expensive." (His dinner for two was $52.30, or about $435 in today's money.) It became a fixture for bons vivants at dinner and a hub for the ladies who lunch. Chef, André Soltner, toiling in the restaurant's cramped 2.5 metres-by-5.5 metres kitchen, cooked up signature dishes like his Alsatian onion tart, crab cassolette and sautéed foie gras with chocolate sauce and orange marmalade. NYT.

Elizabeth Hawley, who has died in Kathmandu aged 94, moved to Nepal from New York in 1960 and over the next 50 years made her name as the "the Sherlock Holmes of the mountaineering world" – the unofficial chronicler of every expedition from Nepal in the Himalayas; yet she never climbed a peak herself and nor did she ever learn to speak Nepali.  Accredited as a part-time correspondent for Time-Life, in 1962 she became a stringer for the Reuters news agency tasked with covering the 1963 American Everest expedition, a massive undertaking involving 18 Americans and almost 900 porters. The assignment landed her first scoop when the American military attaché in Kathmandu offered her access to secret radio communication between Everest Base Camp and the embassy. As a result she became the first to tell the world that the American team had reached the summit. The Telegraph, London.