Bill Goodwin was born in Los Angeles, and it was there that his professional musical journey started in 1959, at the age of 17. His first gig was with Charles Lloyd, Bobby Hutcherson, Herbie Lewis and Terry Trotter. By 1961 he was working with Bud Shank, Gary Peacock, Anthony Ortega, Jack Sheldon, Michael Melvoin and many others. His mentors were Shelly Manne, Stan Levey and Mel Lewis.
Bill took to the road for the year 1963, traveling east and south with vocalist Milton Trenier. On return to LA he began a two-year stint with bassist Leroy Vinegar and an alternating period as a member of the Art Pepper Quartet. Between 1964 and 1969 he was with Paul Horn’s Quintet, in a house trio at the Playboy Club and had toured with The Four Preps, Roger Williams, George Shearing, Tony Bennett and Joe Williams.
Early in 1969 he joined the Gary Burton Quartet and embarked on his first of many European tours. The band worked constantly through 1971 and disbanded shortly after a Japanese tour. From his first days in New York City, Bill had semi-regular recording work, much with Bob Dorough, including the Schoolhouse Rock series. Having moved to the Poconos in 1970, he had become a busy freelance drummer with studio work, jazz gigs and commercial dates. He played with the National Jazz Ensemble led by Chuck Israels, Gerry Mulligan, Al Cohn and Zoot Sims, Bobby Hackett and even Benny Goodman (for one night).
In February 1974 The Phil Woods Quartet formed with Woods, Mike Mellilo, Steve Gilmore and Bill Goodwin. More than 40 years later Woods, Gilmore and Goodwin are still together in the current form of the group, The Phil Woods Quintet, which also includes Brian Lynch (22 years) and Bill Mays (6 years).
Since 1979 Bill has been active as a record producer and band leader. A few of the artists produced include Phil Woods, Bob Dorough, Keith Jarrett, Dave Frishberg, Tom Harrell and Lee Konitz. His own recordings began with Solar Energy (1981), Network (1983)
No Method (1987) and Three’s a Crowd (1992). His latest CD is Raise Four (2013). Bill is currently curating a “live” series recorded at the country’s longest continuously operating jazz club, Deer Head Inn, in Delaware Water Gap, Pennsylvania.
Since 2000 he has been Adjunct Professor in Jazz Studies at William Paterson University.