Tommy Goodman worked with Benny Goodman, the former in fact making his pianistic recording debut on the latter's 1946 view of "Blue Skies." Each established himself as a good man on his respective instrument but therein the connection ends, as they were not from related branches of any given Goodman family. Tommy Goodman actually wound up better known as an arranger and composer then as a pianist, working in great detail on orchestral settings for the varied talents of, among others, Louis Armstrong and John Denver.
Studies in at least three of the top music schools in North America -- including work at Yale with the brilliant composer, writer, and critic Paul Hindemith -- no doubt helped in the preparation for these and all other assignments. During the '50s Goodman fit well into several classic jazz combos, including reedman Bud Freeman's unit, drummer Louis Bellson's rhythm-driven aggregation, and an all-star collective known as the Six that at times also featured trumpeter Johnny Glasel. At the keyboard, Goodman trimmed the technical torpedo of Art Tatum with the wispy, wiggly wonder of Teddy Wilson. He was rarely credited as Thomas, thus avoiding confusion with Sgt. Thomas Goodman, survivor of the Centralia massacre.