Godwin Louis, alto saxophonist, was born in Harlem, New York and began playing saxophone at age nine. Godwin grew up in Bridgeport, Connecticut and Port au Prince, Haiti. Godwin is a recent graduate from the prestigious Thelonious Monk Institute for Jazz Performance class of 2011.
Godwin was one of the six fellows selected to be in the Thelonious Monk Institute for Jazz Performance, a full-scholarship graduate-level program at Loyola University New Orleans, where, under the artistic direction of Terence Blanchard, he and his colleagues honed their skills at performing, teaching and composing. They gave concerts, clinics and private lessons in Louisiana, the Mississippi gulf coast as well as around the globe including, at the Basilicata per New Orleans Jazz festival in Matera Italy and in Beijing, China. Through the Institute, Godwin has studied and performed with Herbie Hancock, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Clark Terry, Ron Carter, Jack Dejohnette, Jimmy Heath, Barry Harris, David Baker, Emeline Michel, Danilo Perez, John Scofield, Jeff “Tain” Watts, John Patitucci, Steve Coleman, Dick Oatts, Jason Moran, Nicholas Payton, Don Sickler, Chris Potter, and artistic director Terence Blanchard. While in the Institute, Godwin was fortunate to study composition privately with the legendary composer, pianist and New Orleans native Roger Dickerson. Godwin also had the opportunity to play and record with world-renowned clarinetist Dr. Michael White. His playing is featured on Dr. Michael White’s latest recording Adventures in New Orleans- Part 1 released on Basin Street Records.
As an undergraduate Godwin studied music education and received his degree in Professional Music with an emphasis on education at Berklee College of Music. While at Berklee, Godwin had the opportunity to perform and record with Terri Lynn Carrington, Cindy Blackman, Ralph Peterson Jr., Delfeayo Marsalis, Phillip Bailey, Gloria Estefan, and Billy Preston. Godwin studied with Frank Tiberi, Jim Ogdren, George Garzone, Joe Lovano, Ed Tomassi, Dave Santoro, Hal Crook, Bill Pierce, Herb Pomeroy among others. Godwin was the recipient of the Elvin Jones award and was selected by the college to perform at numerous music venues and festivals worldwide including: the JVC Festival (New York), Blue Note (New York), Monterey Jazz Festival (California), Trinidad and Tobago Steelpan Jazz Festival, Nancy Jazz Pulsation (France), ArtSpring Performing Arts Center (Salt Spring Island, British Columbia), Sky Church – Experience Music Project/Science Fiction Museum (Seattle), LV’s Uptown (Portland, Oregon), San Jose Jazz Festival (California).
While living in Boston, Godwin was selected to be in the legendary Boston ensemble, The Either/Orchestra. He has toured and recorded with the band, including with Ethiopian legends, Mulatu Astatke, Mahmoud Ahmed, Getachew Mekurya and Alemayehu Eshete. Venues performed include: Lincoln Center Out of Doors, The Barbican (UK) Glastonbury Festival (UK) What is Classical Festival (Toronto) Festival of World Cultures (Ireland) Jazz and Ribs Festival (Columbus) Iridium (NYC), Regattabar (Boston), Historic Sweets Ballroom (Oakland), Sanders Theatre (Boston) Institute of Contemporary Art (Boston) and Denver University (Colorado).
In addition, Godwin has performed as a sideman, guest soloist and has conducted clinics and master classes worldwide. As an educator, humanitarian and ambassador, Godwin has traveled from Haiti, Mexico, Costa Rica, to China to help promote cross-cultural understanding and introduce thousands to America’s indigenous art form, through public concerts, master classes and jam sessions. Godwin has worked as a clinician at several music camps, including the Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong Camp, New Orleans Center for Creative Arts Camp, and the Greater New Orleans Youth Orchestra Summer Music Camp & Festival.
Godwin attended Bassick high School in Bridgeport, Connecticut and graduated with honors in 2003. During his junior year of high school, Godwin Louis through the help of his mentors Mr. John Pearson, Dr. Dwight Berry, Rev. Timothy Howard and Walters A.M.E Zion Church, began studying privately with Mr. Herbert Wilson, a professional musician, educator and behavior analyst. Then for the young Godwin it was a life changing moment, as he found in Mr. Wilson the mentor he needed to begin a music career.
By the end of his junior year, Godwin was selected as a member of the Connecticut All State Jazz Ensemble, opened for Jimmy Heath, and started performing and recording as a sideman all over the tri-state area (CT-NY-MA). Godwin attended Litchfield Jazz Camp in Connecticut, where he had the opportunity to study with Ray Vega, Don Braden, Dave Santoro, Steve Wilson and John Benitez.
During his senior of high school, Godwin had the privilege to study with Latin jazz icons, Arturo O’farrill and Andy Gonzalez. In June 2003, Godwin was the recipient of the Grace Norton Dudley Music Scholarship, a full scholarship to study at any colleges in the country.
In May 2011, Godwin and his Thelonious Monk Institute fellows recorded an album, “Side Angles” to be released in the spring of 2012 under the band name “Junto 6”. It features 12 original compositions, two by each members of the band. The cd features, Godwin on alto saxophone, Billy Buss on trumpet, Matt Marantz on tenor saxophone, Victor Gould on piano, Hogyu Hwang on bass and Nicholas Falk on drums.