Whatever happened to Hilton Ruiz on May 19 was bad. Really bad. Initial reports out of New Orleans indicated that the Afro-Cuban pianist was brutally beaten after he was discovered on Bourbon Street around 4:30 a.m. "covered in blood." That story changed; police now believe that Ruiz simply fell or tripped and hit his head on a curb. Apparently, Ruiz is in a coma. An email is circulating in which well-wishers are encouraged to "wire transfer money to the below bank account." It may be entirely legitimate; the unverified email is certainly an odd appeal for donations. While you ruminate over these developments, consider Ruiz’s lively workout on "Mambo Inn," issued back when major labels still regularly released acoustic jazz albums.
Update: Ruiz died June 6. He was 54.