"Don't Stop the Groove" wasn't just the title of one of organist Lyman Woodard's best records. It was the immutable truth at the core of his being, the philosophy that transformed his live performances into four-alarm parties.
Woodard, who died Tuesday at Owosso Memorial Hospital at age 66, was a stalwart on the local jazz scene for decades. But he really hit his stride in the 1970s, when his band, the Lyman Woodard Organization, took up residence at Cobb's Corner, a Cass Corridor nightspot that became a leading showcase for jazz in Detroit. Mixing a grits 'n' gravy, bluesy approach to jazz with R&B, soul, funk and even a bit of disco, Woodard created a charismatic brew, with booty-shaking rhythmic grooves supporting natty horns and enough improvisation to give the music an edge of spontaneity.