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Larry Willis: A Renaissance Man From Harlem

Pianist Larry Willis’ early life in Harlem, with its frequent sightings of American legends, from Duke Ellington to Willie Mays to Leonard Bernstein, sounds like something novelist E.L. Doctorow might have cooked up.

Yet even that story is no match for Willis’ remarkable if largely unheralded career: Four decades distinguished by an unusually colorful range of recordings, more than 300 in all, and an extraordinary array of collaborations with the likes of Jackie McLean, Cannonball Adderley, Hugh Masekela, Stan Getz, Woody Shaw, Herb Alpert, Blood Sweat and Tears, Carmen McRae and the Fort Apache Band.

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