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Larry Willis

Lawrence Elliott Willis (born December 20, 1940 in New York, NY) is an American jazz pianist and composer. He has performed in a wide range of styles, including jazz fusion and rock. 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. 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).

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