The life of a rising jazz musician was snuffed out in New York on Sunday in what is believed to have been an act of domestic violence.
Lawrence Leathers, 37, a gifted, Grammy Award-winning jazz drummer, was killed in the Bronx, N.Y. His body was found in the stairwell just outside of his apartment which he shared with his girlfriend, Lisa Harris, 41, who has been charged in connection with his death, according to Pix11 News. Another man, Sterling Aguilar, 28, of Brooklyn, has also been charged with assault.
Leathers was reportedly involved in some type of dispute with Harris and Aguilar when police said Aguilar grabbed Leathers and put him in a chokehold while Harris punched him in the face.
According to PIX11 News, which quoted a member of the NYPD as a source, the incident is believed to have occurred as a result of some kind of love triangle.
Both Harris and Aguilar were arrested on assault charges. It wasn’t clear if they had lawyers.
Many New Yorkers remember Leathers as a rising star on the jazz music scene. On Instagram, E.J. Strickland called Leathers “one of the most musical, swingingest, honest drummers out here. Whenever I saw him play, I learned a great deal more about accompaniment, feel, & touch.”
Jazz at Lincoln Center took to Twitter to remember Leathers.
JALC joins the jazz community in mourning Lawrence Lo Leathers.
From performances including Jazz for Young People concerts in Rose Theater, to memorable sets in The Appel Room, to Late Night Sessions at #Dizzys, he brought his spirit to all our stages. https://t.co/snyBkc8rkT pic.twitter.com/x5LbiTJAbT
— Jazz at Lincoln Center (@jazzdotorg) June 3, 2019
Leathers was born in Lansing, Mich. and started playing drums professionally when he was 15, according to The New York Times. He went to Michigan State University to study jazz, but later picked up and moved to New York City to attend the famed Juilliard School.
At Juilliard, Leathers met Aaron Diehl, a pianist, and Paul Sikivie, a bassist, and together, the students formed a trio.
Leathers also performed with a number of older jazz musicians, including Wynton Marsalis, who became his mentor.
Police are still investigating his death.
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