Pianist, lyricist, composer and arranger, Woody Woods will be presenting the concert “Billie & Billy - A Tribute to Billie Holiday & Billy Eckstein” with two shows on Nov. 29. The show will feature the vocal styling of Genevieve Dew, Freddie Eckstein, Jess Bolero as Cab Calloway, Melanie Moore and Sophia Lelis.
Woody Woods has been an integral part of the Las Vegas music scene since the early 1970s. Born and raised in Los Angeles, Woods began his career when he conducted Parade of the Chariots, from the movie, "Ben Hur", in junior high school. Woods became hooked on directing bands, choirs and orchestras as well as musical arrangements when the high school jazz band performed his first original arrangement.
“I started out as a woodwind player playing tenor sax, flute and clarinet,” he said. “But when I was invited to play piano in my high school jazz band, I remained a pianist.”
As for his love of music, he explained, “It is part of my being.” However, he admits that it was his father who told Woods that he would have a career in music which is surprising to him since he is the only one in his family who is musical. Wood's first love is jazz but his musical genres also include big bands, R&B, gospel and orchestra and conducts his own big band. Woods has performed recorded with artists such as Erykah Badu, The Four Tops, Jennifer Holiday, Ray Charles, Chaka Khan and Billy Preston.
Woods has lived in Las Vegas (off and on) since 1972. “Before 9-11; there was plenty of work and I could not imagine living anywhere else. Since that time, music is not keeping me here since I have to look elsewhere for work. But I still love living here in Las Vegas and will perform here when given a chance.”
He is also an author of "Conversations with Myself... and Others” in form poetry and prose. In addition, he is directing and producing several video projects that feature his music and poetry.
“Billie & Billy - A Tribute to Billie Holiday & Billy Eckstein” will be performed at Ron Decar’s Event Center as part of its Big Band Saturdays series on Nov. 29 with two shows from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Tickets are $15, which includes the first drink.