Photo by Ernesto Ruscio/FilmMagic
Jazz Trumpeter Wallace Roney Dies At 59
GRAMMY-winning jazz trumpeter Wallace Roney has officially passed away at the age of 59, according to his fiancée Dawn Jones. It is reported that the musician who performed alongside jazz greats and GRAMMY Hall of Famers Miles Davis and Ornette Coleman was admitted into a hospital in Paterson, New Jersey as recently as last week after contracting the coronavirus.
Born in Philadelphia, Roney began his musical training as a student at the Duke Ellington School of Music and went on to finish from both Howard University and the Berklee College of Music. After being recognized by Davis when playing in a retrospective concert, he shortly after became the late legend's protégé.
Despite creative comparison to the likes of Davis, from his debut release in 1987’s Verses and all 21 that would follow, Roney effectively established himself as a leader in new movements of jazz that incorporated influence from hip-hop and Afro-Caribean music. His sensibility focused on forward and nearly experimental harmonies and rhythms, which he was able to adopt most precisely through Davis’ teachings.
Throughout his illustrious career, Roney collaborated and performed with iconic jazz staples including Chick Corea and Pharoah Sanders, and contributed to numerous recordings including those with the early 1950’s jazz collective the Jazz Messengers, solo and tribute albums, and musical arrangements for movies Love Jones and The Visit.
Roney received his first GRAMMY at the 37th Annual GRAMMYs in 1994 for Best Jazz Instrumental Performance, Individual or Group. He was awarded for his appearance on the tribute album A Tribute For Miles, which featured recordings from members of the Davis quintet; Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter, Wayne Shorter and Tony Williams, with Roney filling in for Davis on trumpet. He was nominated for the same award in 1997 for contributions on the album Remembering Bud Powell.