Larry Willis

Larry Willis

born on 20/12/1940 in New York City, NY, United States

died on 29/9/2019 in Baltimore, MD, United States

Larry Willis

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Larry Willis (born Lawrence Elliott Willis, December 20, 1942, New York City, United States) is an American jazz pianist and composer. He has performed in a wide range of styles, including jazz fusion rock music, Bebop and Avant-Garde

After his first year studying music theory at the Manhattan School of Music he began performing regularly with Jackie McLean. After he graduated he made his first jazz recording, McLean's Right Now!, which featured two of Willis' compositions. His first recording of any type, however, was as a singer with the Music and Arts Chorale Ensemble, performing an opera by Aaron Copland under the direction of Leonard Bernstein. He decided to concentrate on jazz because of the difficulties African American musicians had in finding work in concert music. He is still recording and touring around the world.

Throughout his career he has performed with a wide range of musicians, including a stint of seven years as keyboardist for Blood, Sweat & Tears (beginning in 1972). He spent several years as pianist for Nat Adderley, as well as Roy Hargrove. His latest recording with Paul Murphy, Exposé, demonstrated the fusion principals of bebop and avant-garde jazz. His composition "Sanctuary" began exploring works employing strings. After a successful performance in Frank Lloyd Wright's Annie Pfieffer Chapel at Florida Southern College's "Child of the Sun" Jazz Festival he was commissioned to write a full scale orchestral work for jazz trio and orchestra. He received the Don Redman award in 2011, and the Benny Golson Jazz Master Award at Howard University in 2012.


As leader

  • A New Kind of Soul, 1970
  • Inner Crisis, 1973 (Groove Merchant)
  • My Funny Valentine, 1988
  • Just in Time, 1989
  • Solo Spirit, 1992
  • Steal Away, 1992 (Sledgehammer Blues)[1]
  • Tribute to Someone, 1993 (Sledgehammer Blues)[2]
  • Heavy Blue, 1994
  • How Do You Keep the Music Playing, 1994
  • Let's Play, 1994
  • Unforgettable, 1995
  • Serenade, 1995
  • If Trees Could Talk with Hamiet Bluiett, 1999
  • Every Rung Goes Higher, 2001
  • Sunshower with Kash Killion, Steve Novosel, Paul Murphy, Steve Berrios, 2001
  • Sanctuary with Joe Ford, Ray Codrington, Steve Novosel, Steve Berrios, Artie Sherman and the Rick Schmidt Strings, 2003
  • The Powers of Two 1+2 with Paul Murphy, 2004 and 2006
  • The Big Push, 2006
  • The Offering, 2008

As sideman

With Blood, Sweat, and Tears

  • New Blood (1972)

With Jimmy Heath

  • Peer Pleasure (Landmark, 1987)

With Joe Henderson

  • Multiple (1973)

With Hugh Masekela

  • Home Is Where The Music Is (1978)

With Jackie McLean

  • Right Now! (1965)
  • Jacknife (1965)

With Carmen McRae

  • Carmen Sings Monk (1988)

With Lee Morgan

  • Infinity (1965)

With Alphonse Mouzon

  • The Essence of Mystery (1972)

With Woody Shaw

  • For Sure! (Columbia, 1979)

With Norris Turney


  1. Steal Away. Valley Entertainment. Retrieved on 17 June 2010.
  2. Tribute to Someone. Valley Entertainment. Retrieved on 17 June 2010.

External links

  • Larry Willis at All Music Guide

This page was last modified 16.04.2014 08:26:02

This article uses material from the article Larry Willis from the free encyclopedia Wikipedia and it is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.