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12:10 PM / Monday November 23, 2020

2 Apr 2020

Son: Jazz great Ellis Marsalis Jr. dead at 85; fought virus

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April 2, 2020 Category: Entertainment Posted by:

ABOVE PHOTO: Ellis Marsalis  (AP Photo/Sophia Germer, File)

Son: Jazz great Ellis Marsalis Jr. dead at 85; fought virus

By Janet McConnaughey and Rebecca Santana

associated press

NEW ORLEANS — Ellis Marsalis Jr., the jazz pianist, teacher and patriarch of a New Orleans musical clan, died late Wednesday after battling pneumonia brought on by the new coronavirus, leaving six sons and a deep legacy. He was 85.

“My dad was a giant of a musician and teacher, but an even greater father. He poured everything he had into making us the best of what we could be,” Branford said.

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Four of the jazz patriarch’s six sons are musicians: Wynton, trumpeter, is America’s most prominent jazz spokesman as artistic director of jazz at New York’s Lincoln Center. Branford, saxophonist, led The Tonight Show band and toured with Sting. Delfeayo, a trombonist, is a prominent recording producer and performer. And Jason, a percussionist, has made a name for himself with his own band and as an accompanist. Ellis III, who decided music wasn’t his gig, is a photographer-poet in Baltimore.

“Pneumonia was the actual thing that caused his demise. But it was pneumonia brought on by COVID-19,” Ellis Marsalis III confirmed in an Associated Press phone interview.

“He went out the way he lived: embracing reality,” Wynton tweeted, alongside pictures of his father.

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