HITS Daily Double


Wallace Roney, the Miles Davis-mentored trumpeter who emerged as one of the Young Lions of the late 1980s in jazz, died today from complications from COVID-19. He was 59.

His publicist announced his death, which occurred in New York City.

A native of Philadelphia, Roney made his debut on record at age 15 and was playing in the Cedar Walton Quartet while attending the Duke Ellington School of the Arts in D.C. Down Beat magazine named him Best Young Jazz Musician in 1979 and 1980.

Roney was playing a Davis tribute show at New York’s Bottom Line in 1983 when Davis gave him a horn and soon made him his student. Roney was the only trumpeter Davis ever mentored.

In the mid-‘80s, after a fallow period for jazz musicians in New York, Roney was a member of Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers and Tony Williams’ quintet. After releasing seven albums for the indie Muse label between 1987 and 1993, Roney moved to Warner Bros. where he released three albums between 1993 and 1996. He would go on to put out another 10 albums as a leader.

Davis and Roney famously performed together at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 1991. After Davis death that year, Roney toured with former Davis band members Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Ron Carter and Williams, and their live album, A Tribute to Miles, received the Best Instrumental Jazz Recording Grammy in 1995.