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Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Wallace Roney, Intrepid Jazz Trumpeter, Dies From COVID-19 Complications At 59 : NPR

"Wallace Roney, a trumpeter and composer who embodied the pugnacious, harmonically restive side of post-bop throughout an illustrious four-decade career, died this morning at St. Joseph's University Medical Center in Paterson, N.J. He was 59.

The cause was complications from COVID-19, according to his fiancée, Dawn Felice Jones. She said Roney had been admitted to the hospital last Wednesday.
Roney first rose to prominence as a sharp young steward of the modern jazz tradition, winning national awards in his early 20s and joining several high-profile bands. But it was a public benediction by his idol and mentor, Miles Davis, that catapulted him into a rare stratum of jazz celebrity.
That moment, retold in the recent film Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool, took place at the 1991 Montreux Jazz Festival. Producer Quincy Jones had arranged for Davis to revisit his orchestral albums Sketches of Spain and Porgy and Bess, and Roney was enlisted to play the trumpet solos in rehearsal. Davis insisted that Roney also join him onstage, where he instinctively jumped in to handle some of the more technically demanding parts, and implicitly joined a chain of succession.
appeared in each other's bands; he can be heard on several of her albums, including the classic Eyes...In the Back of Your Head. Their marriage ended in divorce, and Allen died in 2017.Their children, Barbara and Wallace, Jr. are among Roney's surviving family. Survivors also include a stepdaughter, Laila Bansaiz; Jones, his life partner of more than a decade; his grandmother, Rosezell Roney; two brothers, Antoine Roney and Michael Majett; and three sisters, Crystal Roney, Marla Majett and April Petus.
While he was widely understood as a post-bop paragon, Roney delved meaningfully into funk and fusion, and he spent some formative time with free-jazz titan Ornette Coleman. For a time, even leading an acoustic ensemble, he made space for turntablist Val Jeanty.
In 2014, Roney presented the first public airing of some music that saxophonist Wayne Shorter had composed during his time in the Miles Davis Quintet. The suite, called Universe, had never been recorded, and Shorter entrusted it to Roney to realize. He premiered it at the Winter Jazzfest in New York, and performed it that summer at the Charlie Parker Jazz Festival, with a 19-piece chamber orchestra; the following week, he brought it to the Detroit Jazz Festival, in a performance captured by Jazz Night in America.
"It's like finding the Dead Sea Scrolls after all these years," Roney says in that radio episode. "You look up and you find this music from a time when it was most innovative."
Wallace Roney, Intrepid Jazz Trumpeter, Dies From COVID-19 Complications At 59 : NPR

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