Born: March 3, 1942 | Died: February 24, 2009 Primary Instrument: Organ, Hammond B3
Lyman Woodard was born March 3rd, 1942 in Owosso, Michigan and started his formal musical training at age four on the piano. In 1962, he attended the Oscar Peterson School of Contemporary Music in Toronto, Canada. After hearing a performance of the great Jimmy Smith in 1963, he was convinced that this was his future and he made the switch from piano to the Hammond B3 organ.
Lyman formed the first Lyman Woodard Trio in 1965 along with fellow musicians Melvin Davis on drums & vocals and Dennis Coffey on guitar.
Since the early 60s, the Detroit music scene has been largely defined by the music of Motown Records. The Motown music machine spawned many great R&B talents and from 1970 though 1973, Lyman got the opportunity to be a part of this heritage by landing the position of musical director for Martha and the Vandellas.
By 1974, he was anxious to have his own band again and reformed the Lyman Woodard Trio with fellow musicians Leonard King on drums and Ron English on guitar, thus beginning his long standing association with the percussionist who appears with Lyman on his latest release.
Later that year he expanded his band by adding alto saxophonist Norma Jean Bell and percussionist Lorenzo Brown, and changed the name to the Lyman Woodard Organization.
For the next 11 years, the Organization played the clubs and venues of the midwest, changing members occasionally and opening shows for artists such as: Billy Paul, MFSB, Bob James, the Jazz Crusaders, Gil Scott Heron, Herbie Hancock, Tito Puente & his Latin Jazz Ensemble and James Blood Ulmer. The Lyman Woodard Organization disbanded in the late 1980s.
Most recently, Lyman has again reformed his Trio, consisting of long time friend Leonard King on drums & vocals and guitarist, Robert Tye. The trio has been a popular act at the 1994-98 Montreux Detroit Jazz Festivals, and has opened there for artists Bill Doggett and one of Lyman's early influences, Jimmy Smith. The Lyman Woodard/Jimmy Smith booking was part of a show billed as The Battle of the B3s which also included organists Charles Earland, Jack McDuff and Joey DeFrancesco.
The '96 Montreux festival performance has become Lyman's latest release on Corridor Records, Live at the 1996 Montreux Detroit Jazz Festival. The trio have since performed at the Frog Island Jazz and Blues Festival and opened for Booker T. & the MGs.
In 1998, Lyman again performed with long-time friend, electric violinist Regina Carter, who incidentally played on Lyman's 1985 album Dedicacion.
In addition to leading his own groups over the years, Lyman has performed with many distinguished artists including: Johnny Adams, Earl King, Eddy Bo, Thunder Bird Davis, Eddie Kendricks & David Ruffin, Mary Wells, Martha & the Vandellas, The Originals, Grady Tate, Luis Gasga, Marcus Belgrave, Betty Joplin, Chuck Jackson, Josï¿½Feliciano, Roy Brookes, The Eighth Day, James Jameson, The Undisputed Truth and Eddie Jefferson.