JAZZ legend Ellis Marsalis Jr. died at the age of 85 after battling coronavirus pneumonia.
The pianist was the patriarch of a musical family from New Orleans and a famous musician in his own right.
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Ellis Marsalis III confirmed that her father’s death was caused by the coronavirus raging around the world during a global pandemic.
His death on Wednesday came hours after the death of Adam Schlesinger, best known for his work with rock group Fountains Of Wayne, after also contracting a coronavirus.
Four of Marsalis Jr.’s sons followed in his footsteps to become musicians. Wynton is one of the most prominent jazz figures in the United States as artistic director of jazz at Lincoln Center in New York.
Branford is a saxophonist who has worked with people like Sting.
Jason is a drummer who has made a name for himself with his own band, while Delfeayo is a trombonist who is a leading record producer and performer.
Meanwhile, Ellis III is a photographer-poet in Baltimore.
Ellis III said: “Pneumonia was the real cause of his death. But it’s the pneumonia caused by Covid-19.
“I was with him in the hospital for six or seven hours yesterday. Branford was with him on Monday, I was with him yesterday and Jason was with him today.
“He passed right after Jason left. “
Famous fans have also paid tribute online.
Singer John Legend tweeted, “Sending love to the Marsalis family. Condolences to them and to all those who loved Ellis Marsalis. “
Wire star Wendell Pierce of New Orleans described Marsalis Jr as an “icon of our culture”.
He said: “With the deepest and deepest sadness, I deplore the death of a true jazz master, icon of our culture, historic in the history of New Orleans, and deep in his influence on the evolution of music and many lives.
” Dad. Mentor. Professor. Genius. RIP Ellis Marsalis. “
Apple CEO Tim Cook shared a photo of him with the jazz musician.
He said: “Ellis Marsalis was a true legend. In his music, his passion for New Orleans and his constant dedication to education, he showed us the power of the community.
“We will miss him very much. My thoughts are with his sons who continue his legacy. “
The mayor of New Orleans, LaToya Cantrell, said that Marsalis Jr was a “legend” and the “prototype of what we mean when we talk about New Orleans jazz”.
She added: “The love and prayers of all our people go out to his family and to all those whose lives they have touched. “
Ellis Jr. chose to stay in New Orleans for most of his career, but gained new fame when his sons put him in the spotlight.
He came up with new recording contracts and flagship performances on tour and television.
Nick Spitzer, host of American Routes public radio, said, “He was like the jazz coach.
“He put on the sweatshirt, whistled and got these guys to work. “
He added, “His great love was bebop jazz – he was a lover of Thelonious Monk and the idea that bebop was freedom music.
“But when he had to feed his family, he played R’n’B and soul and rock and roll on Bourbon Street. “
Marsalis was born in New Orleans, the son of a hotel operator, where he met musicians on tour who could not stay in isolated downtown hotels.
He played the saxophone in high school but also played the piano when he went to Dillard University.
The musician then joined the US Marine Corps and was responsible for accompanying the soloists on the weekly television programs of the service on CBS in New York.
Ellis Jr. recognized that this period allowed him to learn all kinds of different musical styles.
THE NEXT GENERATION
Upon his return home, he worked at the Playboy Club and ventured to run his own club, which quickly went bankrupt.
He was then hired by trumpeter Al Hirt to be part of his group, which played headlines for The Tonight Show and The Ed Sullivan Show.
It was around this time that he began his studies and began teaching improvisation at Xavier University in New Orleans.
Here he influenced a whole generation of young jazz musicians until his retirement in 2001.
He continued to perform in jazz clubs in New Orleans and founded his own record company, ELM.
Ellis Jr.’s death from the coronavirus comes as the United States continues to be plagued by horror disease.
More than 5,000 people have been killed and the total number of cases now exceeds 215,000.
Other famous faces that have been captured by the virus include Star Wars actor Andrew Jack.
Country star Grammy award winner Joe Diffie also died of complications from the virus, as did guitarist and singer Alan Merrill who co-wrote ‘I Love Rock’ n ‘Roll’.
New York remains the epicenter of the epidemic – with the peak of unexpected cases before two weeks to a month.
However, Ellis Jr.’s home in New Orleans has also been warned that it may become the next US city to face a coronavirus attack.
President Donald Trump told Americans to “prepare for the difficult days ahead.”
He said, “We are going through two very difficult weeks. “
The president added, “As a nation, we are facing a few difficult weeks as we approach this truly important day when we are going to see things get better all of a sudden. “
He compared the work of essential medical workers fighting the virus on the front lines with soldiers.
Mr. Trump said, ” [They’re] like soldiers who go into battle, who go to war. “
It is predicted that on April 15 – which could be the peak of the virus epidemic – more than 2,200 Americans will deny it.
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The president also changed tact by bringing home the severity of the virus.
He said, “A lot of people said they think of it as the flu, but it’s not the flu. It’s vicious. “
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said, “No one denies that we are in a very, very difficult time.
” It is what it is. “
Meanwhile, President Trump has presented a new five-minute coronavirus test as doctors search for new weapons against the disease.