Andrew Woolfolk, Earth, Wind, and Fire’s Basic-Generation Saxophonist, Plain at 71

Singer Philip Bailey confirmed Woolfolk’s loss of life, paying tribute to his buddy and bandmate: “Immense memories. Immense expertise. Comical. Competitive. Snappy witted. And constantly styling”

Jon Blistein
Apr 27, 2022

Andrew Woolfolk with Earth, Wind and Fire in 1982. Report: Solomon NJie/GettyImages

Andrew Woolfolk, the longtime saxophonist for Earth, Wind, and Fire and real hired gun for a slew of utterly different artists, died Sunday, April 24. He modified into as soon as 71.

Earth, Wind, and Fire vocalist Phililp Bailey confirmed Woolfolk’s loss of life on Instagram. No steady location off modified into as soon as given, but Bailey said Woolfolk had been “sick [for] over 6 years.”

“I met him in high college, and we like a flash grew to change into pals and bandmates,” Bailey wrote, adding, “He has Transitioned on to the with no end in sight, from this Land of the loss of life to the Land of the Dwelling. Immense memories. Immense expertise. Comical. Competitive. Snappy witted. And constantly styling. Booski… I’ll see you on utterly different facet, my buddy.”

Woolfolk modified into as soon as born Oct. 11, 1950 in Texas, but modified into as soon as raised in Colorado, the build he later met Bailey. It modified into as soon as Bailey who tapped Woolfolk to enroll in Earth, Wind, and Fire in 1973. On the time, the group had already had some minor success, releasing just a few albums and performing the soundtrack for Melvin Van Peebles’ Blaxploitation traditional Candy Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song. Following the departure of saxophonist/flautist Ronnie Authorized pointers, Bailey urged Earth, Wind, and Fire faucet his frail high college buddy, Woolfolk, as his replacement.

On the time, Woolfolk modified into as soon as residing in Light York City, studying saxophone with jazz immense Joe Henderson. He modified into as soon as also pondering a occupation in banking when Bailey’s provide came in, but he in the raze selected tune. 

Woolfolk’s first file with Earth, Wind, and Fire modified into as soon as 1973’s Head to the Sky, which grew to change into their first album to dawdle platinum. The file kicked off a wildly a success stretch for the group, which persisted with 1974’s Beginning Your Eyes — a Rolling Stone overview namely praised Woolfolk’s “fluent soprano sax” — and reached a height with 1975’s That’s the Strategy of the World. On the strength of the smash single, “Luminous Star” — which hit Number One on the Billboard Hot 100 — That’s the Strategy of the World grew to change into Earth, Wind, and Fire’s first Number One album on the Billboard 200 albums chart as effectively (it modified into as soon as later licensed triple platinum).

Earth, Wind, and Fire maintained a great stage of success through the Seventies, although their status dipped a minute bit in the early Eighties. Following the initiating of 1983’s Electrical Universe, Earth, Wind and Fire, went on hiatus. 

Within the gradual Seventies, Woolfolk started taking part in on utterly different artists’ albums, and he persisted to enact so during Earth, Wind, and Fire’s shatter. Early on, he played with artists love Deniece Williams and Valerie Carter, and persisted to work with Bailey, taking part in on two of his gospel solo data, 1984’s The Wonders of His, and 1986’s Triumph (the latter won a Grammy for Easiest Male Gospel Performance). 

Woolfolk modified into as soon as on-hand when Earth, Wind, and Fire reunited in 1987, and he persisted to play with the group except officially leaving in 1993. After his departure, Woolfolk kept taking part in, linking up with Phil Collins to construct on his 1996 album, Dance Into the Gentle; he also joined Collins on the road a minute bit as effectively, in the end showing on a live recording of Collins at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 1996, which modified into as soon as released in 2004. In 2000, Woolfolk modified into as soon as inducted into the Rock and Roll Corridor of Reputation as a member of Earth, Wind, and Fire.

From Rolling Stone US.

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