Lawrence “Larry” David Warrilow, a prominent member of the South Florida music scene and long-time collaborator of Jaco Pastorius, died peacefully at home on Tuesday, May 18. He was 64 years old.
After his family moved to Miami in 1959, Larry became friends with Peter Graves, and his music career started in the 60’s, while he attended Florida State University. Warrilow joined Graves’ Orchestra as a guitarist and arranger during a five year run that also included performances by musicians such as Pat Metheny, Mark Colby, Danny Gottlieb, Mark Egan, Dan and Neal Bonsanti, Whit Sidener, Jerry Coker and Ron Tooley.
But it was the addition of Jaco, pianist Alex Darqui and drummer Bobby Economou to the orchestra that made the impact.
Larry’s collaborations with Jaco included Word of Mouth and The Birthday Concert, and he was also involved in the Heads Up tributes, the Jaco Pastorius Big Band Word of Mouth Revisited and The Word Is Out albums.
“It’s a huge loss for me personally; it’s still hard to breathe,” shared Graves. “We have been close friends and colleagues for well over 50 years; having grown up on the same street in Miami. He has worked with me on virtually every music project I’ve been involved in during my career. When Jaco Pastorius joined my band in the early 70’s, Larry and Jaco formed a bond that will last forever in the jazz world with the music they left behind. I have often referred to that bond as being similar to the Duke Ellington – Billy Strayhorn collaboration. He’ll be missed on so many levels. RIP Brother Larry.”
Larry was an accomplished arranger, orchestrator and copyist, working with pop acts like the Bee Gees, Barbra Streisand, Ziggy Marley and others. His copy work for the Bee Gees Saturday Night Fever recordings is on display at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He also worked as a sound engineer for Count Basie, Randy and Michael Brecker, Bob James, Tom Scott, Toots Thielemans and Stanley Turrentine.
On hearing the news, drummer Peter Erskine said, “Terrible news! Odd timing to hear this as I am just leaving the hotel here in Budapest for a concert of Jaco’s music at the Béla Bartók Hall in the Palace of Fine Arts… we will dedicate this evening’s performance to the memories of Jaco and Larry.”