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Wallace Roney, Legendary Jazz Trumpeter, Dies at 59 Following Coronavirus Complications

Tichafa Chidzonga
Apr 02, 2020
08:21 A.M.
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Wallace Roney, the legendary trumpeter, who was mentored by Miles Davis, died at 59-years-old from complications caused by the coronavirus.

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The world of Jazz is mourning the loss of one of its legendary musicians, Wallace Roney. He was a renowned trumpeter who was mentored by Miles Davis and performed alongside him on several occasions.

On March 25, his publicist Lydia Liebman released a statement confirming his death, in which she said, "[Roney] passed away due to complications of COVID-19 this morning just before noon."

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After showing symptoms of the coronavirus, he was hospitalized at St. Joseph's University Medical Center in Paterson, New Jersey.

The statement from his publicist revealed that Roney's family plan on holding a memorial service for him once the coronavirus pandemic has passed.

Wallace Roney make an appearance at the 40th anniversary of Miles Davis' Jazz-Funk-Rock Masterpiece Bitches Brew October 22, 2010, New York City | Source: Ben Hider/Getty Images

Wallace Roney make an appearance at the 40th anniversary of Miles Davis' Jazz-Funk-Rock Masterpiece Bitches Brew October 22, 2010, New York City | Source: Ben Hider/Getty Images

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Sharing her grief, Liebman sent a personal statement to CNN and expressed her sadness over his loss. She admitted that working with him was one of "the greatest privileges" of her life, she explained:

"It was an honor to represent him and be part of his musical world. I cannot begin to express how much I will miss him and his music."

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According to the New York Post, Roney started playing the trumpet at only five-years-old. After attending prestigious schools, including Berklee College of Music and Howard University, he joined several bands in his early 20s.

He got his big break at 31 years old when Miles Davis invited him to perform with him at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 1991.

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Davis would go on to mentor him until his death. In 1995 Roney won a Grammy with the Miles Davis Quintet's for the album "A Tribute to Miles." Davis's family shared their grief in a tweet saying:

"He was loved and mentored by Miles. We will miss you Wally. We love you. Peaceful journey."

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Roney was 59-years-old at the time of his death. He was born in Philadelphia. Before being mentored by Davis in the 1980s, he also was introduced to other legendary jazz musicians. It is reported, he took lessons from Dizzy Gillespie and Clark Terry.

Roney is survived by his fiancée, Dawn Felice Jones, and two children, Barbara and Wallace Jr, from his marriage to deceased pianist, Geri Allen.

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