Jazz trumpeter Wallace Roney dies from coronavirus at 59

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NEW YORK — Jazz trumpeter and composer Wallace Roney died on Tuesday morning in a Paterson, N.J. hospital due to complications from coronavirus, his fiancée told NPR. Roney was 59 years old.

Born in Philadelphia in 1960, Roney garnered acclaim at a young age in the jazz world. But his true moment of stardom came at the 1991 Montreux Jazz Festival, when none other than Miles Davis enlisted him to play onstage with the legend himself. Though his full body of work far exceeds a simple association with an icon, Roney also earned a Grammy Award in 1994 for “A Tribute To Miles,” which saw the trumpeter take over Davis’ spot in the Miles Davis Quintet.

Documentarian Stanley Nelson, who produced and directed 2019’s “Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool,” paid tribute to Roney.

“I am devastated by the news of Wallace Roney’s passing,” Nelson tweeted. “He was a brilliant musician, an annointed student of Miles Davis, and a key contributor to @milesdavisfilm “Birth of the Cool.” Rest in power, Wallace.”

And Jazz at Lincoln Center tweeted: “With great sadness, we learned today of the passing of singular trumpeter Wallace Roney. A former mentee of icons like Miles Davis and Clark Terry, Roney has long since carved out his own reputation as a true modern great. He will be missed dearly.”

Roney is survived by two children, a stepdaughter, five siblings, and his partner of more than 10 years, Dawn Felice Jones.


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