Roney played alongside jazz greats like Ornette Coleman and Miles Davis.
The coronavirus pandemic has taken the world by storm, and its effects have already begun to impact the music industry. Aside from festival cancellations, a handful of elder American musicians have contracted the virus. On Tuesday morning, jazz trumpeter Wallace Roney died of complications of the virus in New Jersey. Roney was 59.
Last Wednesday, Roney began receiving treatment at St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Paterson, New Jersey.
The Philadelphia native joined the Philadelphia Brass quintet as a twelve-year-old in 1972. As a teenager, he moved to Washington, D.C., where he attended the Duke Ellington School of the Arts. He would later attend Howard University and the Berklee College of Music in Boston.
At the 1991 Montreux Jazz Festival, Roney performed alongside jazz legend Miles Davis. Recently, filmmaker Stanley Nelson recreated the moment in Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool. Three years after the festival, Roney won a Grammy award for his 1994 album, A Tribute to Miles. Nelson paid tribute to Roney in a statement on Twitter.
“I am devastated by the news of Wallace Roney’s passing,” Nelson said. “He was a brilliant musician, an anointed student of Miles Davis, and a key contributor to Birth of the Cool. Rest in power, Wallace.”
I am devastated by the news of Wallace Roney’s passing. He was a brilliant musician, an annointed student of Miles Davis, and a key contributor to @milesdavisfilm “Birth of the Cool.” Rest in power, Wallace. pic.twitter.com/dyYxHfYqk9
— Stanley Nelson (@StanleyNelson1) March 31, 2020
A proficient bandleader, Roney released over 20 albums in total. In 2019, Roney released his last album, Blue Dawn-Blue Nights. The album and most of his full discography are available on major streaming platforms.
Roney is survived by two children, a stepdaughter, five siblings, and his partner of over ten years, Dawn Felice Jones.