Larry Williams

Larry Williams

Alto Sax icon Alto Sax

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Kansas City, Kansas, U.S. Birthplace


Larry Williams is a multi-instrumentalist and composer who is known for his work with the jazz-fusion band Seawind and as a session musician with various artists, including Al Jarreau. Williams plays keyboards, saxophone, flute and clarinet and began his career in the 1970s playing with the jazz-fusion band, Seawind, which he cofounded. The band caught the attention of Quincy Jones and soon Williams, and the other musicians, were backing acts such as The Brothers Johnson, Michael Jackson and Jones himself. Williams went on work with a variety of top recording artists including Joni Mitchell, Earth, Wind & Fire, Barbara Streisand, Whitney Houston, Green Day, Herbie Hancock and many others. Williams was a part of Al Jarreau's touring band for over 3 decades. Williams also released one album of contemporary jazz in 2006 called "The Beautiful Struggle." In addition to his work as a musician, Williams is a composer and arranger for film and television.


Larry Williams played tenor sax and flute on several tracks from the 2006 movie "Dreamgirls." Larry Williams plays the alto sax solo on Sheila E's "The Glamorous Life." Larry Williams' has contributed to over 1500 projects, including records, movies and commercials.

Early Life

Larry Williams grew up in Kansas City. His father played the saxophone and Williams began learning the clarinet at age 8. He played in the Kansas City Youth Orchestra and then studied music at New Mexico State University before transferring to the Indiana University in 1969. Williams was primarily a woodwinds player, but began studying keyboards after realizing that would give him more opportunities. While still at university, Williams began getting gigs with visiting orchestras including those of Glen Campbell, Henry Mancini, and Johnny Mathis. When a chance to play in Hawaii arose he left school and headed to the islands. In Hawaii he met other musicians and formed the jazz-fusion band that would eventually become known as Seawind. The drummer-producer Harvey Mason heard them play and encouraged the group to move to Los Angeles where they soon had a regular gig at the LA Club, The Baked Potato.