Dr. Andy Goodrich’s credentials as a musician and scholar are impeccable. His accomplishments range from teaching Charles Lloyd, Harold Mabern and Booker Little to playing saxophone and flute with Cannonball Adderley, Hank Crawford and Thad Jones. His academic ties include assistant professorships at the University of Maryland-College Park and the University of Illinois-Chicago; later, he served as academic dean for the City Colleges of Chicago. But Goodrich is also a pioneering figure among jazz educators, setting the record straight concerning the importance of jazz in historically black colleges.

“Many people around the country seem to think that jazz education started in 1950 in Denton, Texas, at West Texas State,” says Goodrich, an alumnus of Tennessee State University. “They don’t know the role that black colleges, especially TSU as well as Fisk, played in getting jazz acknowledged in the educational curriculum, and how the efforts of great jazz players while they were students at these schools helped get the music respected and recognized academically on campus. Benny Golson told me that when he was at Howard, he had to practice in the Home Economics building because the music department wouldn’t allow jazz players to use their facilities. The black college jazz movement enabled musicians to get undergraduate and graduate degrees in the field, but too many people don’t know this story.”

Goodrich is currently writing a book on the jazz movement in black colleges. He’ll be speaking on the subject Saturday at the Nashville Jazz Workshop, as part of “Jazz at the Workshop,” a daylong celebration of the jazz arts in Nashville. The festivities include seminars, workshops and concerts. Goodrich will also join an all-star group that includes Kirk Whalum, Jamey Aebersold, Rod McGaha and Charles Dungey for an evening concert at the Belcourt.

A significant part of his forthcoming book outlines the contributions of Fisk and TSU to the growth of jazz academia. “The Fisk Collegians included such great players as Jimmie Lunceford and J. (Jordan) C. Chavis,” Goodrich explains. “Lunceford later returned to Memphis and taught at Manassas High, before he organized his 'Gentlemen of Swing’ orchestra, which grew out of a student band called The Chickasaw Syncopators. It was Chavis who was recruited by [educator] W.S. Davis at TSU to travel the country and find top musicians. Davis remembered the Depression, and he wanted to create an environment at TSU where musicians could have a degree to fall back on if opportunities for them to play later dried up. He gave Chavis 20 four-year scholarships and told him to get out there and find the musicians. That’s how I got to TSU, because one of the places he visited was Memphis.”

A native Memphian, Goodrich eventually earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music education and administration at TSU. He has fond memories of his years in the TSU Collegians, particularly their selection, in 1949, by the Pittsburgh Courier as the nation’s top college orchestra. “We got to perform at Carnegie Hall with Lionel Hampton, Erskine Hawkins, Lester Young and Billie Holiday,” he remembers. “We surprised the New York audience; they didn’t think that a Southern band could be that sharp, musically sophisticated and skilled. The next night, we went up against Buddy Johnson’s orchestra in a battle of the bands at the Savoy Ballroom. We did so well, Buddy was going around asking guys if they wanted gigs.”

Tragedy struck the Collegians that same year. Returning from an engagement in Mississippi, the bus carrying the band had a horrendous wreck, killing drummer Paul Kidd and business manager James Welch. That ended the orchestra’s plans to tour. By 1952, the TSU Collegians were placed under the management of a student named William Abernathy.

Since leaving TSU and earning his doctorate at Michigan State, Goodrich has taught, been an administrator, done session work and led bands. He now resides in Pittsburgh and will soon release a new CD, Andy Goodrich & Too Muckin’ Fuch, on his own Too Muckin’ Fuch label.

Saddened by the decline of jazz studies at historically black colleges, Goodrich is determined to ensure that this glorious legacy isn’t forgotten. “Today, there aren’t many historically black colleges and universities where musicians can get degrees in jazz, study the music and maintain it,” he says. “There are many reasons for that, a major one being the popularity of marching bands and the resources that it takes to maintain them.

“When you look at the history and see that people like Jimmy Blanton, Paul Quinichette, Phineas Newborn, Leon Thomas, Duke Payne, Jimmy Cleveland and many others attended TSU, [and] that Fisk had a fantastic band back in the ’30s, it’s really a shame that so few African Americans now have any interest in jazz, or any knowledge of that background. My book will really address that issue, and put the importance of jazz at black colleges in its proper perspective.”

“Jazz at the Workshop” begins 11 a.m. Saturday, with a jazz brunch featuring the Beegie Adair Trio. All events except the evening concert will be held at the Jazz Workshop, 1312 Adams St., with the 8 p.m. concert taking place at the Belcourt Theatre. For ticket info and event starting times, call 242-5299 or visit www.nashvillejazz.org.

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