Lyman Woodard

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Lyman Woodard
Birth nameLyman Elnathan Woodard III
Born(1942-03-03)March 3, 1942
DiedFebruary 24, 2009(2009-02-24) (aged 66)
Owosso, Michigan, United States
InstrumentsHammond B-3, Piano
Years active1975–2008
Associated actsThe 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 1960s, Woodard recorded with a number of Motown acts, and served as musical director for Martha and the Vandellas. But releases – such as his 1975 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".[2] In 1979, Woodard returned to Cobb's Corner with the Organization to record Don't Stop the Groove, for the Corridor label. The 1987 recording, Dedicacion, featured violinist Regina Carter.

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)


  1. ^ Michael G. Nastos. "Lyman Woodard | Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 2015-07-11.
  2. ^ "Solo - Dennis Coffey". Retrieved 2015-07-11.