Ellis Marsalis Junior, an American pianist, who fathered Wynton and Branford Marsalis, two of US’ celebrated jazz performers, is dead at 86.

According to the New York Times, Branford said his dad died on Wednesday from complications of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

LaToya Cantrell, mayor of his home town New Orleans, also took to social media to confirm his death.

“Ellis Marsalis was a legend, the prototype of what we mean when we talk about New Orleans jazz,” Cantrell wrote.

“The love and the prayers of all of our people go out to his family, and to all of those whose lives he touched.

“Ellis Marsalis was an icon — and words aren’t sufficient to describe the art, the joy & the wonder he showed the world.

“May we wrap his family in our love & our gratitude, & may we honor his memory by coming together in spirit— even as the outbreak keeps us apart, for a time.

Marsalis was an acclaimed pianist who helped bring the bebop style to New Orleans, where swing and big-band jazz had dominated.

He played alongside Ornette Coleman, featured on a recording alongside Nat and Cannonball Adderley, the hard bop stars, and has 20 solo albums to his name.

Marsalis spent decades as a working musician and teacher before his eldest sons came into the limelight in the early 1980s, embodying after reportedly reviving traditional jazz.



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