“This man singlehandedly motivated and inspired me to play the way I play. When I was a kid growing up playing classical music on my viola, there was nobody other than Jean Luc Ponty and Sugarcane Harris that came close to the kind of playing that I was attracted to. And then I heard Jerry. His use of distortion and wah-wah technique was mind-blowing to me. I’m sure that thousands and thousands of other electric violin players out there were greatly influenced by him. Now, how cool is it that, after all these years, my violin hero is playing one of my instruments and loving it!”
Jerry Goodman is an American violinist best known for playing electric violin in the bands The Flock and the jazz fusion Mahavishnu Orchestra. Goodman actually began his musical career as The Flock’s roadie before joining the band on violin. Trained in the conservatory, both of his parents were in the string section of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. His uncle was the noted composer and jazz pianist Marty Rubenstein.
After his 1970 appearance on John McLaughlin’s album My Goal’s Beyond, he became a member of McLaughlin’s original Mahavishnu Orchestra lineup until the band broke up in 1973, and was viewed as a soloist of equal virtuosity to McLaughlin, keyboardist Jan Hammer and drummer Billy Cobham.
In 1975, after Mahavishnu, Goodman recorded the album Like Children with Mahavishnu keyboard alumnus Jan Hammer. Starting in 1985 he recorded three solo albums for Private Music — On the Future of Aviation, Ariel, and the live album It’s Alive with luminaries such as Fred Simon and Jim Hines—and went on tour with his own band, as well as with Shadowfax and The Dixie Dregs. He scored Lily Tomlin’s The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe and is the featured violinist on numerous film soundtracks, including Billy Crystal’s Mr. Saturday Night and Steve Martin’s Dirty Rotten Scoundrels . His violin can be heard on more than fifty albums from artists ranging from Toots Thielemans to Hall & Oates to Styx to Jordan Rudess to Choking Ghost to Derek Sherinian. Goodman has appeared on four of Sherinian’s solo records – Inertia (2001), Black Utopia (2003), Mythology (2004), and Blood of the Snake (2006)
In 1993, Goodman joined the American instrumental band, The Dixie Dregs, fronted by guitarist Steve Morse. Goodman appeared on one studio recording “Full Circle” (1994), and the live album “California Screamin'” (2000). In 1996 Session violist and producer Ray Tischer featured Goodman on the award winning CD Canciones del Sol/Britt Bossa Orchestra (band) on Tischer’s original instrumental Toca del Angel.
After an absence from the public eye in live concert, he toured in 2004 and 2005 with Gary Husband in his group Gary Husband’s Force Majeure, and appeared on the DVD Gary Husband’s Force Majeure – Live at the Queen Elizabeth Hall. Even more recently, he played with the San Diego based fusion group Hectic Watermelon and with Dream Theater in their album Black Clouds & Silver Linings. Goodman has also been a part of Billy Cobham’s Spectrum 40 tour.