Ellis Marsalis, New Orleans Jazz Patriarch, Dead at 85


Ellis Marsalis, the New Orleans jazz pianist and patriarch of an accomplished family of musicians, has died. The Ellis Marsalis Center for Music confirmed his death to NBC News. Branford Marsalis said his father died of COVID-19 complications. He was 85.

Marsalis was the father of renowned musicians Wynton, Branford, Delfeayo, and Jason Marsalis; his grandson Slauson Malone (Jasper Marsalis) is a former member of Standing on the Corner. He was a renowned educator and pianist who recorded multiple albums.

“Ellis Marsalis was a legend,” wrote New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell. “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.”

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