JIM GOODWIN, 1944-2009

I have just learned that the brilliantly individualistic musician Jim Goodwin has died.  He had been ill for some time and had concentrated on the piano rather than his first love, the cornet.  On that instrument, he had much of the same surprising intensity and off-center majesty of Red Allen: you didn’t know where his phrases came from or where they were going, but they always fit.  An eloquent player, he knew how to drive a band!

His most accessible CD, perhaps, may be his Arbors Records duet session with Dave Frishberg, DOUBLE PLAY, but the Blue Swing Fine Recordings label has just reissued music from the Sunset Music Company (including Dan Barrett, Jeff Hamilton, and Bill Carter) at their 1979 concert in Dusseldorf.   Thanks to Bob Erwig for the Dailymotion video below.

This post is written in haste, so it’s not a full tribute to Jim — but he was a HOT jazz player, fervent and intense, someone who didn’t know what it was to coast through a chorus.  I never met him, but his death is a real loss.  I send condolences to Retta Christie and all of Jim’s family and friends.

The remarkable singer Melissa Collard said this of Jim: “I didn’t know him well but was just lucky to be around during some blessed moments when his playing seemed to make heavens open up and rain down beauty so clear it made you laugh.”

5 responses to “JIM GOODWIN, 1944-2009

  1. So sorry to hear of Jim’s passing. This is a huge loss, he was wonderful.

    I love Melissa’s comment, I feel the same way about him.

  2. Such sad news! Jim was one of the truly great swing trumpeters to come along in the second half of the 20th century, right up there with Ruby. He didn’t compromise, didn’t care about being famous, just played beautifully. And he was a superb piano player. And one of the nicest people I’ve ever met.
    I’ve spent the last day talking with some of Jim’s friends, and amid the sadness, every one of them said the same thing: “I am so lucky to have known Jim.” That’s a testament to his greatness.

  3. All true and more — but in your own way, O Mystery Cornetist, I know you will carry on Jim’s legacy while sounding just like yourself.

  4. Rick Braun

    I played guitar in Jim’s band in 1994-5. He mostly played piano and man, was he swingin. Jim was a joy, played brilliantly, and was good to everyone around him. I lost track of him and didn’t know he was sick. I heard about “the late” Jim Goodwin on the radio last night and just burst into tears.

  5. Paul de Kort

    Here in Breda, The Netherlands, starts today the 39th Breda Jazzfestival.
    Jim played serveral years at our festival, and was very populair as person and famous musician.
    It is sad news that Jim passed away. What a “Breda friend”!!
    All the best to his family.

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