Marion Brown, a saxophonist whose lyrical, low-key style made him a distinctive presence in the high-energy jazz avant-garde of the 1960s and '70s, died Monday in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. He was 79.
His death, in a hospice, was confirmed by his son, Djinji. Mr. Brown had been treated for a variety of illnesses in recent years and had been living in an assisted-living home in Hollywood, Fla.
Mr. Brown, whose main instrument was alto saxophone, was a key figure in the movement that came to be known as free jazz, an approach to improvisation that challenged conventional notions of harmony, rhythm, pitch and pretty much everything else.