Andrew Woolfolk: Earth, Wind & Fire saxophonist dies at 71

Woolfolk, who grew up in Denver, was a member of Earth, Wind & Fire from 1973 to 1985, and again from 1987 to 1993.

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Earth, Wind & Fire: Maurice White (from left),  Verdine White, Philip Bailey, Ralph Johnson, Larry Dunn, Al McKay, Andrew Woolfolk and Johnny Graham pose after accepting their award during the 15th Annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction dinner on Monday, March 6, 2000. Woolfolk died at the age of 71 on Monday.

Earth, Wind & Fire: Maurice White (from left), Verdine White, Philip Bailey, Ralph Johnson, Larry Dunn, Al McKay, Andrew Woolfolk and Johnny Graham pose after accepting their award during the 15th Annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction dinner on Monday, March 6, 2000. Woolfolk died at the age of 71 on Monday.

AP

Andrew Woolfolk, a longtime saxophonist for Earth, Wind & Fire, has died at 71.

Lead singer of the band Philip J. Bailey announced Woolfolk’s death on Instagram Monday. “We lost him today, after being ill of over 6 years,” Bailey wrote, alongside a photo of the two. “He has Transitioned on to the forever, from this Land of the dying to the Land of the Living.”

Bailey did not give further details on the illness Woolfolk was battling.

The Earth, Wind & Fire member recalled meeting Woolfolk in high school and how the two “quickly became friends and band mates.”

“Great memories. Great Talent. Funny. Competitive. Quick witted. And always styling. Booski…I’ll see you on the other side, my friend,” Bailey concluded his post.

The official Instagram account for Earth, Wind & Fire also reposted Bailey’s post.

Woolfolk, who grew up in Denver and was inducted into the Colorado Music Hall of Fame in 2017, was a member of Earth, Wind & Fire from 1973 to 1985, and again from 1987 to 1993. Outside of the R&B group, Woolfolk collaborated with artists including Deniece Williams, Phil Collins, Twennynine and Level 42 and played on Bailey’s 1984 and 1986 albums, “The Wonders of His Love” and “Triumph.”

Woolfolk’s soprano and tenor saxophone sounds became signature elements in many of Earth, Wind & Fire’s biggest hits of the 1970s, most recognizably on “September,” “Let’s Groove,” “Boogie Wonderland” and “Shining Star.” His live performances with the band usually found him sporting the flamboyant shimmery jumpsuits that were a notable aspect of the band’s style.

In 2000, Earth, Wind & Fire – along with Woolfolk – was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

The legendary group lost its founder and leader back in 2016 with the death of Maurice White.

Read more at usatoday.com

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