US:Jazz legend Ellis Marsalis Jr. dies aged 85 from coronavirus complications

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Recording artist Ellis Marsalis performs at the 2009 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival in New Orleans Sunday, May 3, 2009. (AP Photo/Judi Bottoni)

New Orleans jazz legend, educator and father of four musical sons, Ellis Marsalis Jr., died on Wednesday, Ellis Marsalis Center for Music director emeritus Quint Davis told CNN.

The cause of death was complications of Covid-19, his son Branford Marsalis told the New York Times.

“Ellis Marsalis was a legend. He was the prototype of what we mean when we talk about New Orleans jazz,” New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell said in a statement Wednesday night.
“He was a teacher, a father, and an icon — and words aren’t sufficient to describe the art, the joy and the wonder he showed the world.”

A musical dynasty: Four of Marsalis’ six sons followed in his musical footsteps, and established their own lasting careers in the industry. Ellis’ son Wynton is managing and artistic director of Jazz at Lincoln Center, and winner of multiple awards.

His son Branford is a jazz saxophonist who has recorded albums with Sting, among others.

“A huge loss,” Davis told CNN.

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