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The Lyman Woodard Trio - Live At The 1996 Ford Montreux Detroit Jazz Festival (2015)

11-01-2016, 20:30
Jazz | Blues | Soul

Title: Live At The 1996 Ford Montreux Detroit Jazz Festival
Year Of Release: 2015
Label: Uuquipleu Records
Genre: Jazz, Soul, Blues, Hammond Organ
Quality: 320 kbps
Total Time: 56:02
Total Size: 131 MB

1. Disco Tease (Live) ( 8:03)
2. If I Were A Bell (Live) ( 6:28)
3. Serenata (Live) ( 8:53)
4. When Did You Leave Heaven (Live) ( 5:31)
5. The Breeze And I (Live) ( 9:44)
6. Medley (Live) (10:34)
7. Ain't That Good News (Live) ( 6:46)

Lyman Woodard not only established a career as a premier jazz organist, but introduced dance and Latin rhythms to his instrument in a way others in his peer group did not. Born Lyman Elnathan Woodard III in Owosso, MI, on March 3, 1942, his father and grandfather were musicians who passed on the jazz tradition, as he took up the piano and attended local public schools before moving to St. Louis, where he was a student at Principin High School. Woodard returned to Michigan, studying at Flint Northern College, and then headed to Toronto to study at the Advanced School for Contemporary Music, where his mentors were Oscar Peterson and Ray Brown. He was able to play songs by Little Richard note for note, and was influenced by early R&B pioneers Fats Domino and Chuck Berry. In the early '60s, he heard Jimmy Smith on his car radio, and switched to the Hammond B-3 organ.

Woodard worked with various bands in Michigan, particularly in the bands of saxophonist Benny Poole, and moved to Detroit in 1964. His professional experience included stints as music director for Martha & the Vandellas and as a member of soul-fusion bands Undisputed Truth and 8th Day; he was also a leader in the Detroit Artists Workshop and collaborated with jazz trumpeters Marcus Belgrave and Ron Jackson and saxophonist Norma Jean Bell. In the 1970s Woodard formed his own trio, initially with Don Davis and formally with Motown session guitarist Dennis Coffey and drummer Melvin Davis; he then fronted his larger band, the Lyman Woodard Organization, producing the 1975 cult classic Strata label LP Saturday Night Special with Bell, guitarist Ron English, drummer Leonard King, and percussionist Lorenzo Brown, among others, and the Corridor label follow-ups Don't Stop the Groove -- recorded live at the Detroit nightclub Cobb's Corner in 1979, with English and national award-winning guitarist Robert Lowe, Jr., King, Belgrave, and saxophonists Kerry Campbell and Allan Barnes -- and the 1985 EP Dedicacion. These recordings marked Woodard's progression out of mainstream or soul-jazz into a beat-oriented, danceable music that Detroiters related to amidst the disco craze. The Afro-Cuban-oriented Dedicacion also introduced the world to a young violinist, Regina Carter, Lowe, and in subsequent live performances, then fledgling alto saxophonist Kenny Garrett.

Woodard's trio played extensively at Cobb's Corner in the Cass Corridor district of Detroit during the 1970s, but when club owner Henry Normile and jazz singing legend Eddie Jefferson were both murdered in cold blood in 1979, the scene in Detroit took a serious nosedive, though Woodard continued to play there on the weekends. Several years later Woodard rallied with a new trio featuring guitarist Rob Tye and King to keep playing his new music as well as standards, and he was often featured at the Montreux-Detroit Jazz Festival, his 1996 performance issued on CD. Live at J.J.'s Lounge and 74/93 Live: At Last!! were released on independent labels. By 2000 Woodard's presence in the city had diminished, as he played only sporadically. Suffering from emphysema and complications from a broken hip, Woodard passed away where he was born, at Owosso Memorial Hospital, on February 24, 2009, at age 66. Saturday Night Special has been reissued on audiophile vinyl, and as an available download from the Wax Poetic label. ~ by Michael G. Nastos

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