Summer in the CityFred Woodard Collective
Fred Woodard was born on March 2, 1961, in Kansas City, Missouri, and grew up in Iowa City, Iowa. After high school, he attended Berklee College of Music and received a degree in jazz composition and arranging in 1983. He has also studied jazz improvisation with Jerry Bergonzi, Charlie Banacos and Ritchie Hart.
After graduating, Woodard performed with a variety of jazz, R&B, and reggae bands in the Boston area, and performed locally and internationally with classic R&B artists such as Sam & Dave, William Bell, the Drifters, and the Marveletts. He has been leading his own jazz groups since 1988, and they have performed extensively, making appearances at Boston-area events such as the Newton Jazz Festival, the DSNI Multi-Cultural Festival, and the Big Head Community Festival. Across the country, his groups have performed at the Burlington Discover Jazz Festival, the Providence Jazz and Blues Festival, and the Iowa City Jazz Festival. In 2016, he founded and organized the Dudley Jazz Festival, and it has been an annual event since then.
Woodard established his own recording label, Ujam Records, in1997, and has produced three recordings, Arrival, 1715, and Urban Garden, all of which received positive reviews in publications such as Cadence Magazine, the Boston Globe, the Boston Phoenix, the Rochester City-News, and the Iowa City Press Citizen. In 2006, the Fred Woodard Trio was named best jazz band at the first annual New England Urban Music Awards, and in 2013, Woodard was awarded the Community Catalyst Award from the Madison Park Development Corporation.
In addition to his own band, Woodard currently performs with the Pocket Big Band and the jazz quintet the AB 5. He also shares his love of his craft as a teacher at the Roland Hayes School of Music in Roxbury, Massachusetts.