Trumpeter and pianist John Brunious, who served as the bandleader for New Orleans’ renowned Preservation Hall Jazz Band, died in Orlando, Fla., on Feb. 12. The cause was an apparent heart attack. With the band for 20 years, he was its senior member.
Growing up in a family of gifted musicians, Brunious was introduced to New Orleans jazz at a young age, by his father, John “Picky” Brunious and others, such as drumming legend Paul Barbarin. He began taking lessons from his father at age 10 but mostly taught himself to play by listening to records and emulating what he heard; inspired by Dizzy Gillespie and Maynard Ferguson, he developed a flair for flashy, high-note solos that earned him work at gigs and on record sessions in a variety of styles.
Brunious’ career spanned decades, multiple continents and some of the most prestigious venues in the world, including Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center. He performed for British royalty, the king of Thailand, U.S. presidents and many other VIPs.