Even for a successful composer and arranger in Hollywood, Gordon Goodwin’s numbers are impressive: A 2006 GRAMMY Award for his Instrumental Arrangement of “Incredits” from the Pixar film The Incredibles, three Emmy Awards, and thirteen GRAMMY nominations.
Here’s another impressive number to add to the list: eighteen. As in the number of musicians in Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band, one of the most exciting large jazz ensembles on the planet. Populated by L.A.’s finest players, the Big Phat Band takes the big band tradition into the new millennium with a contemporary, highly original sound featuring Goodwin’s witty, intricate, and hard-swinging compositions in a veritable grab bag of styles: swing, Latin, blues, classical, rock and more.
A steady, persistent audio diet of the giants of jazz, pop, rock and funk has nourished Goodwin’s being since childhood. Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Buddy Rich, Thad Jones and Mel Lewis, Earth, Wind and Fire, and Tower of Power, among many others, filled the well for the music his band makes today. And like those other bands, Goodwin’s music is nothing less than astonishing when experienced live.
Goodwin’s ability to combine jazz excellence with any musical style makes his writing appealing to fans across the spectrum. That’s why both beboppers and headbangers dig Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band.
Established in 2000, the Big Phat Band’s debut recording, Swingin’ For The Fences (Silverline Records), featured guest artists Arturo Sandoval and Eddie Daniels. It made history as the first commercially available DVD-Audio title ever released and the first DVD-Audio title to receive two GRAMMY nominations.
The band’s second album, XXL (Silverline Records), was released on DVD-Audio and compact disc in 2003. Charting its first week, XXL garnered three GRAMMY nominations for Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album, Best Instrumental Composition (“Hunting Wabbits”) and Best Instrumental Arrangement with Vocals (“Comes Love” with Brian McKnight and Take 6), while winning the Surround Sound Award for “Best Made for Surround Sound Title.” The list of guest artists matched the high quality of the first release and featured, among others, Johnny Mathis and the incomparable Michael Brecker.
The Big Phat Band’s third album, The Phat Pack (immergent Records), with guest stars Dianne Reeves, David Sanborn, Eddie Daniels and Take 6, received a GRAMMY nomination and spent 31 weeks on the Billboard jazz charts.
Released in September 2008, the Big Phat Band’s fourth recording, Act Your Age, far outsold every other big band record in its path. Produced by acclaimed guitarist Lee Ritenour, it featured a host of terrific guests including Patti Austin, Chick Corea, Dave Grusin and even Ritenour himself, plus a special appearance by the late pianist Art Tatum on a stunning performance that had jaws dropping right and left. The critically acclaimed Act Your Age garnered three GRAMMY nominations.