Lyman Woodard

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Lyman Woodard
Birth name Lyman Elnathan Woodard III
Born (1942-03-03)March 3, 1942
Origin Owosso, Michigan
Died February 24, 2009(2009-02-24) (aged 66)
Owosso, Michigan
Genres Jazz
Instruments Hammond B-3, Piano
Years active 1975–2008
Associated acts The Lyman Woodard Organization, Martha & the Vandellas, Undisputed Truth, 8th Day

Lyman Woodard (March 3, 1942 – February 25, 2009) was a Detroit-based jazz organist noted for fusing his music with Latin and Afro-Cuban-inspired rhythms.[1] From the late '60s, Woodard recorded with a number of Motown acts, and served as musical director for Martha and the Vandellas. But seminal releases – like his 1975 cult-classic Saturday Night Special – and the legacy of his namesake outfit, the Lyman Woodard Organization, helped define Motor City's lesser-known jazz-funk heritage.

Before establishing the Lyman Woodard Organization, he comprised a jazz trio with drummer Melvin Davis and guitarist Dennis Coffey; the ensemble made its reputation playing numerous shows at a nightclub called Cobb's Corner. In 1968, Woodard and Melvin Davis recorded the album "Hair And Thangs" with Dennis Coffey. Although the album was released as a solo project by Dennis Coffey in 1969, a single containing "It's Your Thing" ("It's Your Thang" on the LP) and "River Rouge" was released with the artist(s) as "Dennis Coffey and the Lyman Woodard Trio"[1]. In 1979, Woodard returned to Cobb's Corner with the Organization to record his magnum opus, Don't Stop the Groove, for the Corridor label.

In March 2009, Wax Poetics Records reissued a limited pressing of Saturday Night Special as a double LP on 180-gram vinyl.


  • The Lyman Woodard Organization (Strata Records, 1975)
  • Don't stop the groove (Corridor, 1979
  • Dedicacion (Corridor, 1987)
  • 74/93 Live At Last ! (Uuquipleu, 1993)
  • Live at the 1996 Ford Montreux Detroit Jazz Festival (Corridor, 1996)
  • with Robert Tye Virtues of the well (Corridor, 1998)