Ernie Andrews

James 'Biddy' Wood

James 'Biddy' Wood

James "Biddy" Wood, a retired music promoter and well-known personality in Baltimore's Pennsylvania Avenue jazz scene, died of respiratory failure Friday at Harbor Hospital Center's hospice unit. He was 87 and lived in Bolton Hill.

Born in Lexington, Ky., he was the son of Francis M. Wood, an educator who was director of segregated, or "colored," schools in Baltimore, and Nellie Hughes, a home economics teacher. The family lived in Catonsville, and "Biddy," as he was known because he was a small child, graduated in 1940 from Frederick Douglass High School.

He served in the Army during World War II and completed a fine arts degree at Howard...