Born Lawrence Elliott Willis (1942), Larry Willis 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.
In 2013 Willis featured on the Design Indaba Music Circuit at the Mahogany Room in Cape Town.