Ellis Marsalis, jazz pianist, educator, and father of four noted musicians, died in New Orleans after contracting the coronavirus. He was 85 years old.
LaToya Cantrell, the mayor of New Orleans, said Marsalis was an icon when she announced his death. His death was confirmed by the Ellis Marsalis Center for Music.
Marsalis had the coronavirus and pneumonia, according to one of his sons.
Mayor Cantrell tweeted:
Ellis Marsalis was a legend. He was the prototype of what we mean when we talk about New Orleans jazz. 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 togther in spirit, for a time.
Ellis Marsalis III stated that it was pneumonia that killed his father, but it came from COVID-19.
Marsalis’ musical sons include trumpet player Wynton, saxophone player Branford, trombone player Delfeaup, and drummer Jason.
Wynton Marsalis has won nine Grammys. Branford led the “Tonight Show” band when Jay Leno hosted the NBC show, and he toured with Sting.
By Jeanette Vietti
NBC News: Ellis Marsalis, jazz patriarch, dies at 85 after coronavirus diagnoses
NPR: Ellis Marsalis, Patriarch of New Orleans’ Most Famous Musical Family, Has Died
The New York Times: Ellis Marsalis Jr., Jazz Pianist and Music Family Patriarch, Dies at 85
Image Courtesy of Matt’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License