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Larry Willis 1942-2019

The former Blood, Sweat & Tears and Fort Apache Band keyboardist was a wide-ranging player and composer

Larry Willis (photo courtesy of Mapleshade Records)
Larry Willis (photo courtesy of Mapleshade Records)

Larry Willis, a Grammy-nominated jazz pianist and composer who also enjoyed popular success as a member of the jazz-rock band Blood, Sweat & Tears, died September 29 at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, Maryland. He was 76 years old.

Willis’ death was confirmed by Pierre Sprey, a longtime friend of Willis and the head of Mapleshade Records, where the pianist served as music director. Cause of death was a pulmonary hemorrhage due to complications from diabetes.

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Michael J. West

Michael J. West is a jazz journalist in Washington, D.C. In addition to his work on the national and international jazz scenes, he has been covering D.C.’s local jazz community since 2009. He is also a freelance writer, editor, and proofreader, and as such spends most days either hunkered down at a screen or inside his very big headphones. He lives in Washington with his wife and two children.