A Grammy Award-winning jazz musician was killed in the Bronx over the weekend following a domestic dispute with his girlfriend and another man.
Jazz drummer Lawrence “Lo” Leathers was found dead in the stairwell of his Bronx apartment on Sunday (June 2). He was only 37 years old.
According to authorities, Leathers’ death is the result of a domestic dispute with his live-in girlfriend, Lisa Harris, 41, and a 28-year-old man named Sterling Aguilar.
The couple was allegedly arguing when Aguilar intervened and placed Leathers in a chokehold, breaking bones in the drummer’s neck, while Harris punched Leathers in the head. Leathers died on the scene.
Harris and Aguilar have been charged with first and second-degree manslaughter and criminal negligent homicide.
Born in Michigan, Leathers began playing professionally at 15 and was trained at The Juilliard School. The rising star won two Grammys for his work with Cecile McLorin Salvant in 2015 and 2017.
Fellow musicians honored Leathers at a Jazz club in The Village on Sunday. He had been scheduled to perform at the club the night he died.
“It made you feel good just to be around him…He was always just a warm soul,” one musician told ABC News.
The jazz community was rocked by Leathers’ death, a talent taken too soon.
[J]azz musician E.J. Strickland paid homage to Leathers on Instagram, calling him “one of the most musical, swingingest, honest drummers” he knew.
“Whenever I saw him play, I learned a great deal more about accompaniment, feel, & touch. Conversation with him was always a pleasure, as well,” Strickland wrote. “He always gave me a lot to think about. Also, one of the most supportive musicians out here on the scene.”
Vocalist and WBGO radio host Lezlie Harrison told ABC New York station WABC she remembered him as one of her closest friends and “a legend” in the making.
“He was a sought-after drummer. Everybody wanted to work with him. … He played with such feeling,” Harrison said. “I loved playing with him because he did all those pretty things behind me, as a vocalist. … He would certainly be a legend, and I guess that’s what he is now.”
She said he was affectionately known as “our prince” by those closest to him.
“Yeah, he was a prince. Everybody had their way of greeting Lawrence, or him greeting them, with a bow,” Harrison added. “His swing, the way he could keep time and the way he could ride a rhythm. … For a young cat like that, he was pretty bad. And bad meaning excellent.”
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Lawrence Lo Leathers @lopicz was 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. Conversation with him was always a pleasure, as well. He always gave me a lot to think about. Also, one of the most supportive musicians out here on the scene. Nowadays, there are so many that are so quick to discredit, downplay, & disrespect their peers, youngbloods, & elders. Not Lawrence. Always positive, supportive, & loving. We need more real ones like this, y'all. ❤ Rest well, soldier. You are greatly missed by us all. 🙏🏾 #riplawrenceloleathers🥁 #realonesonly #swingingest #drummerextraordinare
You can watch Leathers perform a solo with Cecile McLorin Salvant below: