The jazz world loses Ellis Marsalis and Wallace Roney


Ellis Marsalis RP_160

In the photo, Ellis Marsalis with her son Branford

Today is a day of great losses for the jazz world. Ellis Marsalis, one of the great patriarchs of our music, and Wallace Roney, a trumpet player outstanding for his tremendous lyricism and musicality, have died.

Our Festival presented Ellis Marsalis with its Donostiako Jazzaldia Award in 2016, in recognition of his essential contribution to jazz history as a whole. As well as being one of the leading modern jazz pianists, he had accumulated enormous prestige as a music instructor: he taught hugely important musicians including Jesse Davis, Terence Blanchard, Donald Harrison, Nicholas Payton and, naturally, his sons Wynton, Branford, Delfeayo and Jason, all front-line jazz figures. The legacy left by Ellis Marsalis is impressive.

Wallace Roney was considered to be one of Miles Davis’s most outstanding students; in fact, the Davis offspring have issued a statement of their sorrow over Roney’s passing, highlighting the ties that connected them. But Roney also had his own voice and earned recognition for his personal merits. His quality was obvious in his two visits to the Heineken Jazzaldia: in 2006 as a member of the septet accompanying another recently disappeared icon, McCoy Tyner, and in 2012 with the Miles Smiles project recreating the work of Miles Davis.


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