Jazz Night in Kemp Library Brings Past Talent to ESU

Matt Vashlishan (Jazz Ensemble Coordinator of Jazz Collection) introducing Phil Woods's "Birds of a Feather."

“It’s a funny business, the music business. And jazz isn’t pop music, it’s limited, but they did well.”

Jill Goodwin explained about the Phil Woods Group whom she managed after the previous manager did not work out.

She was not a manager by coincidence, she had two very important members in the band. Phil Woods was her husband and Bill Goodwin, her younger brother.

Every third Wednesday of the month, a different jazz artist is celebrated and played at the Jazz Lounge on the main floor of Kemp Library.

On April 17th from 7-8 p.m. the jazz musician celebrated was Phil Woods who passed away in Sept. 2015.

The night of music was introduced by Matt Vashlishan who is the jazz ensemble coordinator of the jazz collection. He announced that the album of the night was Woods’ “Birds of a Feather.”

This album included a range of songs, some of which had a quick upbeat tempo while others had a slower melody that could be considered close to smooth jazz.

Some of the song titles on the record (which was recorded in August 1981) were “Star Eyes,” “Summer Night” and “Nica’s Dream.”

The Phil Woods group started in 1974 and ended in 2015. Phil Woods was the alto saxophone player.

Phil Woods traveled all over the world to play his music. He toured in Europe where he spent a year in Paris headlining with Quincy Jones.

Drummer, Bill Goodwin attended the jazz night in the library and listened to his old band’s songs which brought the past back to him.

Bill Goodwin was able make a full-time career out of playing music, which is every musician’s dream.

He has toured and traveled for over 60 years. He started playing music professionally at the age of 17. Goodwin is originally from Los Angeles, but now resides in the Poconos.

His mother and father were both in the entertainment industry, he agreed performing was in his blood. His mother was a dancer in movies and his father was an actor and starred on “The Late Show” and on the radio with Bob Hope.

Goodwin’s mother worried that he wouldn’t make it in the industry full-time, but he decided to “pursue it single mindedly.” And his mother had faith when at the age of 24, he had the highest paying job working with a well-known pianist.

Goodwin has also traveled all over the world for over 50 years for his music. Some of his favorite places visited included Italy, France, Portugal, Spain, Japan and Russia.

He is credited for playing the drums on many episodes and songs in the popular kids’ television series “Schoolhouse Rock.”

His love of music led him to also become a producer. He said surprisingly, it was an easy task for him to balance being both a musician and a producer.

“I was already in the studio all the time recording. So, I watched what people did and I wasn’t aware I was accumulating all this knowledge. But then I started using it,” Goodwin explained.

Although Goodwin has not traveled as much as he used to the last ten to twelve years, he still plays music and has a passion for teaching it.

He now teaches jazz studies at William Patterson and has for the past 19 years.

“I hope to pass on what we learned. We didn’t go to college, but we had older musicians to mentor us. I met and learned so much and I try to pass it on the way they did with me.”

To learn more about Bill Goodwin, Phil Woods and other jazz artists you can visit the website – www.esu.edu/jazzatesu or grab a copy of “The Note” magazine in the jazz lounge in the Kemp Library.  

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