Saturday, September 18th
at Fred Bowman’s House
3:00 – 9:00 pm
Piano Provided – Potluck Dinner
RSVP Fred at:
More info to follow!
RSVP Fred at:
More info to follow!
A Musical Tribute to Jim Goodwin
Monday, March 15th,
KBOO 90.7 fm
12 – 2 pm PST
Chris Tyle is back in the studio with Retta Christie helping to celebrate the musical life of the late Jim Goodwin on the eve of Jim’s 66th birthday. Tune in and stream the radio show at KBOO.FM
*Update: The playlist from the show ..
Just a Closer Walk With Thee – Muddy River Jazz Band, 1967
Stardust Records lp, out-of-print
Wild Man Blues – Ed Zimbrick’s 10th Avenue Jazz Band, 1968
EJ Records lp, out-of-print
Liza – The Great Excelsior Jazz Band, 1969
ASP Records lp, out-of-print
It Should Be You – New Orleans Jazz Club of Northern California All Stars, 1970
NOJNC Records lp, out-of-print
I’m Wild About That Thing – New Orleans Jazz Club of Northern California All Stars, 1970
NOJNC Records lp, out-of-print
I Never Knew What a Gal Could Do – Dick Oxtot’s Golden Age Jazz Band, 1973
Arhoolie Records lp, out-of-print
Doctor Jazz – Turk Murphy Jazz Band, 1974
Unissued private recording
Doin’ the New Lowdown – Brett Runkle and the Starting from Scratch Jazz Band, 1975
Berkeley Rhythm Records 7″ lp, out-of-print
I’ve Got My Fingers Crossed – Marty Grosz and Berkeley Rhythm, 1976
Jim Goodwin and Friends lp, Berkeley Rhythm Records
A Sailboat in the Moonlight – Mike Duffy’s Second Pacific Film Archives Band, 1978
Jim Goodwin and Friends lp, Berkeley Rhythm Records
You’re a Lucky Guy – Jim Goodwin, piano, 1977
Jim Goodwin and Friends lp, Berkeley Rhythm Records
My Melancholy Baby – Jim Goodwin, cornet; Burt Bales, piano, 1977
Jim Goodwin and Friends lp, Berkeley Rhythm Records
You’ve Changed – Ray Skjelbred’s Yeti Chasers, 1976
Tormented – Berkeley Rhythm, 1978
Unissued private recording at the Great American Music Hall, San Francisco, Ca.
Sheik of Araby – Sunset Music Company, 1979
Blue Swing CD
Angel Eyes – Berkeley Rhythm, 1973
Berkeley Rhythm Vol 1 lp, out-of-print
Dinah – Butch Smith and his Dixieland Band, Palmdale, Ca. Jim Goodwin, Ray Skjelbred, Ham Carson, 1987/1988
Jazz Master lp, out-of-print
There’ Ain’t No Sweet Man – Double Play, Jim Goodwin & Dave Frishberg, 1992
by Joan Harvey of the Oregonian
Musicians say Jim Goodwin taught them how to play music — and how to live.
He was a musician’s musician, largely unknown to the public but legendary among jazz cognoscenti and to those who played with him. His authoritative, stunning cornet leads and spontaneous outpouring of original, appropriate ideas awed other musicians and inspired them to play better.
His music reflected his soul — he was a gentle person with an oddball, oblique wit; he was brilliant, generous and unerringly true to himself. He was charismatic and immediately charmed everyone he met. Friends stayed friends forever; no one knows of an enemy he ever had.
Jim died April 19 of alcoholism at age 65.
Jim enjoyed a 40-year career as a cornetist.
The outpouring of grief after his death is made more bitter by the realization that such a happy, life-absorbing personality could self-destruct. But most of all, it is grief that his music is silent.
Jim’s music echoed that of Louis Armstrong, Wild Bill Davison, Bix Beiderbecke and Henry “Red” Allen. He was a natural musician who learned to play by ear and never wanted to taint his spontaneity by learning to read music. He could pick up any horn and make it sing. He also was a well-known piano player and earned money playing drums and vibraphone.
Jim wasn’t interested in fame or fortune. He turned down an offer to tour with the Freddy Martin Band, among other offers, and refused to promote himself. He cherished his freedom.
Since the gallery now houses over 100 photos, I think the time has come to create separate pages for each group of photos, so in the next few days, be on the lookout for a bit of a site redesign. And don’t forget to sign the guestbook while you’re here!
*Edit: New pages have been created for each Gallery!
Photos have been moved to the Gallery!
Saturday, September 19th
Cornelius Pass Road House
22115 NW Imbrie Drive
Hillsboro, Oregon 97124
A Celebration of Jim’s life
Food and drink
Music (bring your instrument, a piano will be provided)
by Dan Barrett
The Sunset Music Company had just finished another gig during its tour of Germany in 1978. The details for this engagement are hazy, as are so many details of the many gigs we played at that time. I often wish that I’d followed my mother’s sage advice, and kept a diary during those times. When you’re twenty-two years old, and in Europe for the second time in your life, traveling with guys who are all like older brothers, you think these times will go on forever, so why stop to write about it? Just live, and enjoy it, man, and swing out!
So there we were—Jim Goodwin and I—both fairly full of excellent German beer and probably more than a few shots of local schnapps. It could have been Düsseldorf, or Wurzburg, or Heidelberg, or even Nuremberg; we had gigs in all those places–and many others–at jazz clubs that featured traditional jazz. That is, back when there were clubs that featured that seminal form of the music, and back when there were bands that could do it justice. Wherever we were, it was pretty cold. Freezing, in fact.
We somehow made it back to our hotel (taxi? A ride from a jazz fan? Walking for several kilometers under a blue Teutonic moon? Who knows?), and I graciously rushed to open the front door for my hero, Jim Goodwin. He said, “Thanks, Daniel,” as I grasped the long vertical door handle. I pulled, and nearly yanked my arm out of its socket. Locked, and locked tight, man.
“Whoa!” Jim said, and laughed. As I said, we were both more than tipsy.
I tried again, with that faith that too much alcohol can give one. Still no dice.
“Oh, yeah,” Jim said, remembering something. His brows furrowed. “I seem to recall the innkeeper saying they lock the door at eleven p.m.” He looked at his watch, as though we’d just missed curfew. It was four-thirty.
“Oh, great!” I said. “I don’t suppose you have a key?”
Jim shook his head. “I meant to get one before I left, but while I was waiting at the front desk, a big green iguana crawled in and needed some help with his luggage…”
“I see.” I said. “He didn’t happen to be wearing my porkpie hat, did he?” I’d lost a beautiful old porkpie I’d found in your typical German second-hand porkpie shop on the tour, and managed to lose it during one of our gigs. I’d last seen it at one of the clubs we played earlier that week, bobbing off into the crowd on the blonde head of a very attractive young German girl. Sigh.
“No such luck,” Jim replied. “This particular iguana was a Homburg-type. Say!” Jim added brightly. “Maybe there’s a window open around the back!”
We skulked around the side of the hotel, looking suspicious, and watching for anyone who might think we looked suspicious.
“No windows on this side,” I said, just for something to say. I saw my breath in the cold night air. Jim led us around behind the small hotel.
“Hey, look, man!” he whispered. “That basement window is open a bit!”
I looked down, and just above the narrow cement walkway that ran around the hotel’s perimeter was a small rectangular window. It was open a crack.
“I don’t think I’d fit, man, but I bet you can,” Jim said excitedly. This in itself shows you just how long ago all this happened. Me skinnier than Goodwin. Sigh.
“Well…how do I do it?” I asked. Jim seemed much more experienced in these matters.
“Get on the ground on your stomach…yeah, that’s it. OK: I’ve got your ankles…”
With Jim operating me like a large Irish-Serbian divining rod, I wedged my head and shoulders into the window, waving my arms out in front of me. I couldn’t see a thing.
“Hello?” I said, very quietly. I didn’t want to interrupt some kind of German tryst, or encounter a shepherd. Chances were good it would be a German shepherd.
“Hellooo…?” I repeated, somewhat more boldly. “Anyone there? Ich bin eine Amerikaner…”
I heard a faint echo, but nothing else. I wondered what kind of room in a hotel would have an echo. I wondered how you said “breaking and entering” in German.
“I think we’re good, Jim…just hang on to my ankles, and lower me in.”
“All right…careful…easy…there you go…”
I gradually eased forward into pitch blackness as Jim, perhaps a little too enthusiastically, pushed me into the yawning black space.
“Don’t let go!” I said in a stage whisper. “I can’t feel anything! There’s nothing under me!”
I was now more than halfway into the window, and gravity was doing its predictable thing. I was now bent at the waist, with Jim’s hands still clamped around my ankles. I hoped to feel a dresser, or TV set, or anything—a bed would have been perfect—but all I felt were very cold, dry walls. I edged further down the wall; kind of like Spider-Man, trying to use my fingertips to give me some friction on those inexplicably slick, cool walls. I willed my eyes to see, but it was the blackest dark I’d ever encountered.
As my hands crept down the wall, my left hand was suddenly rewarded with a moist squish. Almost immediately, my right hand felt an identical squish. I soon detected a familiar smell., and instantly figured it out. My two hands had landed at the base of two urinals, and I’d just crushed the urinal cakes to a ripe pulp. They can be pretty ripe in older German hotels, too. Just trust me.
I uttered an oath.
“What ‘say?” Jim asked politely.
“It’s OK, James,” I said, in no small disgust. “I’m in the men’s room. You can let go now.”
“Ha, ha,” was Jim’s reply as he let loose of my ankles. To this day, I can imagine his fingers splayed wide, taking a child’s fiendish delight in letting me go. I toppled the rest of the way into the men’s room, and rolled as carefully as I could onto the cold tile floor. My new mission was to keep my hands as far away from anything civilized as possible!
“So, Dan,” Jim said. I turned and looked up to see his head at a right angle, silhouetted in the moonlight. His old tweed newsboy cap was slightly crooked. It had been a tough night, all right.
“Go around to the front door, and let me in” he said.
“OK…but give me a few minutes!”
The silhouette nodded and vanished. Wan moonlight shone into the room (where was it when I needed it?), and I could just make out two old white porcelain sinks across from me. I fled to the nearest one, and turned on the water. I waited forever for it to get hot, holding my diseased hands out in front of me like Dr. Kildare. When the water was finally hot, I intentionally scalded my hands up to my forearms, and scrubbed them with soap as though I was about to perform brain surgery on Louis Armstrong. Or Jim Goodwin.
Finally, when I thought I might be able to eat with those hands some day, I teetered off into the darkness, to find my way to the front door.
Jim was waiting. He was slapping his crossed arms around himself against the cold. I could see his breath as he said, “Man! What took you?”
He wasn’t upset; more concerned about my well-being. I told him about the urinal cakes and the rest. With Jim embellishing my story as I went along, we both began laughing like hyenas. We decided the hotel proprietor wouldn’t blame us if we helped ourselves to a restorative beverage or two after our ordeal. We found the bar through the dark, and Jim pulled us a couple of large drafts.
And yes, we paid for them the next day.
Costa Mesa, CA
by Ray Skjelbred
My friend Jim Goodwin has died. I feel it deeply, and although I know words can’t do anything about it, words and memory are all we have. Jim was much loved by many people, not just for his one-of-a-kind musical qualities, but also for his intelligence, wit, imagination, lack of pretense and that wildly independent, boyish nature. How and why he died doesn’t seem so important now, and even though we all worried about what seemed to be a self-destructive path, the reality was still a shock because that boy-like quality had always seemed indestructible and part of us all.
I first met Jim in 1967, when we played some jobs together with Monte Ballou in Portland, Oregon. On one occasion I camped out at his house for a couple of days while we worked on a recording with Monte. Jim had a piano and we fooled around with some duet stuff that caused us to make discoveries about each other that led to a long musical partnership. Jim suddenly was making wild explorations on his cornet, he had tenderness and ferocity and a lot of Wild Bill Davison in him. I was loping along, with a Jess Stacy influence, and we hit it off. I loved the daring and poetic leaps —and swing!— in his playing. Not only that, but when Jim sat down at the piano I heard a kinship. He had been affected by the same people I loved: Jess and Joe Sullivan, Earl Hines and Art Hodes. The sound of hot swing, Chicago style and deep blues was all through him. Jim was the best cornet player I ever heard and my favorite contemporary piano player.
When we got hungry that day, we went to a 7-11 store and bought some beef jerky. Jim tasted it as we drove back, didn’t like it, stopped the car on the freeway, put the beef jerky in front of a tire, then drove over it. I realized I was meeting a new kind of person, someone I needed to meet. We would have years ahead where we could “play” imaginatively and discover the surrealistic potential inherent in every moment of life. For me the music was just a starting point. We played baseball, read Donald Duck comics and generally laughed a lot
In August 1969 my family and I moved from Seattle to Berkeley. Jim moved down from Portland a few days later, and for many years lived with me in various places — a back room in a house that had been passed on to me by Bob Mielke, a little apartment over a garage on Bancroft Way, and a big attic over what we called “the second Benvenue House (Mielke’s was the first). Before this time, Jim had briefly been in New York, learning to be a stockbroker, a profession he walked away from pretty quickly as he called himself “the world’s youngest retired stockbroker.” From that point on, he worked entirely as a musician, never completely making a living and floating from one home to another. But he was a rising star and quickly became in demand with all the great Bay Area musicians, who also took him to their hearts. Eventually Jim expanded his world with trips to Europe, especially with his appearances at the Breda Festival in The Netherlands. Still, he once told me an idea he had about an ideal job, and it didn’t involve music. He would live in the woods then hike a long, beautiful trail, and when he got to the end, someone would be there and Jim would say, “Everything’s all right down at my end.” Then he would return.
Music in general was not so important, just the right music. I remember one time Richard Hadlock brought Joe Sullivan to my house and Jim and I were thrilled to be sitting around, talking with our hero. We were playing tapes of jazz and at one point, Bob Zurke started playing Joe’s anthem “Little Rock Getaway, and Sullivan loudly growled, “C’mon Zurke that’s not how you play it.” We loved Joe, his musical pride and his desire to do things the right way. Jim and I would often recall that day and how Joe reacted. Music needed passion and poetry.
The first time Jess Stacy played at the Sacramento Jazz Festival, we were both knocked out. I pushed my way to the stage and partly crawled under the piano. I wasn’t going to miss it. When Jess started I saw Jim nearby. We were both crying at what we heard.
And there were the daily adventures. Once, Jim and I decided to have a suit marathon, and because a marathon is 26 miles, we agreed to wear suits and ties for 26 days, no matter what we were doing or how uncomfortable we were. Another time Jim built a “human” on my front porch, with shoes, pants and shirt full of some kind of stuffing, a realistic old man mask and cutouts of boxer Chuck Wepner’s eyes inserted into the eye holes. Then Jim poured him a glass of wine, lit a cigar for him and placed him in a rocking chair. Then he tied a string to the chair, which he secretly rocked back and forth from inside the house, just hoping someone might pass by and be fooled by his creation, even if it were for only a few seconds.
Jim once tape recorded himself painting a fence. I have the tape. Every now and then you hear a car go by. Otherwise it is silent for a long time. The best part is that Jim allowed that it didn’t turn out as well as he thought it would. Another time, Jim, John Smith, Lueder Ohlwein and I went to a fancy music job without any shirts because the leader said he would supply special shirts for us to wear. We got pretty literal.
We often worked together at Mandrakes with Dick Oxtot, and one time Jim said he wanted to impersonate me and we could stage a fight about which one of us was the real Ray Skjelbred. He got a false beard, wore one of my Cubs caps and a red and black checked shirt, same as mine, and we had a mock fight in front of the piano, each of us claiming to be me. Although this happened in a jazz club, this kind of humor was only marginally public. It was an elaborately shaped experience for friends, and if it was only observed for a second or two, that was enough. Of course music was the same way. Everything was personal, nothing was commercial.
We played for many years as a duet at the Bull Valley Inn in Port Costa. Many wonderful friends and musicians joined us there and everyone knew you would never hear anything the same way twice. I can’t list everyone but John Smith was very important to Jim and joined when he could. Ray Landsberg was there, and Bob Mielke, Burt Noah, Clarence Jackson, P.T. Stanton and so many more. During that time we made a fine recording with the Yeti Chasers. The full name is Port Costa Yeti Chasers and it came about because one night on the long, twisty, dangerous, rural road back home from Port Costa, Jim and I both had to stop to take a leak. We heard footsteps in the dark, large ones, and they sounded like two feet, not four, which would have indicated a local cow. We knew a creature was after us. Thus the name. We also did some wonderful recordings together with the Berkeley Rhythm band, a floating cushion of swing.
As times passed, Jim was gone to Europe off and on and other wonderful players took his place: Richard Hadlock, Bob Short, Bob Neighbor and so on. All wonderful people. I am happy to say that out of his European travels there is now a new (1979) CD of Jim with a great cast of musicans and friends, the Sunset Music Company, a musical fireball with Dan Barrett, Bill Carter, Luder Ohlwein, Mike Fay and Jeff Hamilton that is available on Blue Swing Records.
By the end of the 70’s, Jim had moved back to Portland. He stayed at his mother’s apartment for a while, then a big flat, where I met Retta Christie, who did so much to keep Jim going in his last years, then the wild farmhouse out at Camp Brownsmead near Astoria and finally an apartment in Portland. When Jim moved back to Oregon, the daily life connection closed down, but we did see each other off and on and I got hismany typed letters and wild drawings, which I have kept and none of which had much to do with the world as others see it. We were great admirers of Carl Barks drawings of Donald Duck and in addition to his own wildly original work, Jim could reproduce Barks’ ideas, but always with a twist. In one Donald comic there is a small, obscure painting of a duck, relative on the wall, an old duck with a big beard and wide, staring, innocent eyes, a look Jim often assumed. He took that stamp size painting and made it a large, full-blown painting, which I have on my wall. But I missed Jim and the spirit of Berkeley life with him. No longer would we spend long hours playing my ancient Foto-Electric football game with Jim’s team, The Jamaican Zombies and mine, The Wild Hogs, while we drank beer and listened to Horace Henderson records in the background.
In later years Jim kept his independence, sometimes stubbornly so, against the wishes of doctors and friends until, I suppose, it caught up with him, which leads to the final perfect story. Jim once played a game of Monopoly with friends, but wouldn’t buy property. He just kept going around the board, staying loose, not wanting to be tied down, even with a Monopoly house!
In saying what I have said, I know I have left out details and important people, but I can’t go on too much longer!. Machteld Van Buren, his wife and longtime companion is a lovely person and knew who Jim was. His Seattle friends, who first met Jim when he filled in for Bob Jackson in the Great Excelsior Jazz Band, and especially Bob West, a friend who helped Jim in the last few years. Of course Fred Bowman, his lifelong Portland friend. And many more.
The poet and undertaker (for real) Thomas Lynch says the dead don’t care, and I suppose that may be true, but the poet William Stafford, writing about the death of his son, talked about the “days he could never lose,” and I suppose that’s also true. Jim had many wonderful days he could never lose, and as long as we have words and memories, we won’t lose them either.
by Tony Pringle
I remember Jim very clearly. We seemed to be like ships that pass in the night, but he always made an impression.
Back in the middle to late 1970s he was on tour with Barry Martin and John Defferay was playing clarinet with Bary’s band. Our clarinet player had had an operation and we were stuck for a replacement. I looked at Barry’s schedule and saw they had a couple of free nights – later they would come and play alongside the Black Eagles at the Sticky Wicket. I made a couple of calls and eventually reached Barry and I asked if John could play a couple of gigs with us – Thursday at the Stick Wicket and Friday somewhere closer to Boston. It was agreed and we signed John up for the two gigs – he would be staying at my house.