All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

303

Gordon Goodwin's Big Phat Band: The Phat Pack

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count
The suave and irrepressible Rat Pack, whose urbane image was shrewdly nurtured for so many years by Ol' Blue Eyes, meistersinger Frank Sinatra himself, is no longer with us. Luckily, we have as partial solace The Phat Pack, the convivial third recording by jack-of-all-trades Gordon Goodwin's Big Phat Band. Goodwin bows respectfully to his illustrious predecessors by reprising two songs closely associated with members of the Rodent Gang, Sinatra's "It Was a Very Good Year" and Sammy Davis Jr.'s "Too Close for Comfort," also appending an evocative title song that could have served as the Pack's overture in a cabaret or concert hall.

One of the more engaging aspects of any album by Goodwin's exemplary ensemble is that one never knows quite what to expect from moment to moment as the music veers in a heartbeat from straight-ahead swing to funk, Latin, neo-hip shuffle and back again—not to mention such wild anomalies as "Hunting Wabbits 2," Goodwin's quirky salute to Elmer Fudd and those incomparable Warner Bros. cartoons from the '40s and '50s (for "Hunting Wabbits 1," see the BPB's previous album, XXL).

Needless to say, the all-star band is razor-keen throughout, lending power and charisma to Goodwin's personable compositions and charts. Soloists aren't named, but that has to be Eric Marienthal's nimble soprano on "Wabbits," his aggressive alto on "Get in Line" and "Attack of the Killer Tomatoes," Andy Martin's supple trombone on "Tomatoes," Wayne Bergeron's screaming trumpet on "La Alma Pequena (The Little Clam)." That's ironic, as clams are almost never a part of Bergeron's musical diet.

As usual, Goodwin has invited several well-known guest artists to sit in, and all of them are superb. Vocalist Dianne Reeves positively nails "Too Close for Comfort," alto David Sanborn is suitably raunchy on "Play That Funky Music," ace clarinetist Eddie Daniels burns rubber on the grueling "Under the Wire," and the vocal group Take 6 takes charge on "It Was a Very Good Year." Another Goodwin staple is the patriotic finale, in this case the poignant "Ever Braver, Ever Stronger (An American Elegy)."

So much to say, so little space remaining. Highlights (besides those already mentioned) include "Cut 'n Run," "Count Bubba's Revenge," "Whodunnit?" Well, let's be honest. Everything else. And it should be noted that the disc is accompanied by a DVD with soundtrack, photos, lyrics and other extras. Alas, I was unable to play my copy, as it requires a compatible Direct Show DVD player, which I don't have. As Sinatra would have intoned, "That's Life."

Goodwin's debut album, Swingin' for the Fences, was Grammy-nominated, XXL earned one (in a minor category), and if this isn't a leading contender for the top big band prize, I'll eat broccoli (yuck!) with my supper (please don't tell my wife I said that).


Track Listing: Cut

Personnel: Gordon Goodwin: leader, composer, arranger, piano, tenor saxophone; Wayne Bergeron, Dan Fornero, Bob Summers, Dan Savant, Pete DeSiena (4,6,12): trumpet; Eric Marienthal: alto, soprano saxophone, flute; Sal Lozano: alto saxophone, flute, piccolo; Brian Scanlon, Jeff Driskill: tenor saxophone, clarinet; Jay Mason: baritone saxophone, bass clarinet; Andy Martin, Alex Iles, Charlie Morillas, Craig Ware, Craig Gosnell (2): trombone; Grant Geissman, Carl Verheyen (4): guitar; Rick Shaw: acoustic, electric bass; Bernie Dresel, Ray Brinker (10,11,13): drums; Luis Conte, Brad Dutz (4,6,12): percussion. Special guests: Diane Reeves (2): vocal; David Sanborn (4): alto saxophone; Eddie Daniels (10): clarinet; Take 6 (12): vocal.

Title: The Phat Pack | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Immergent Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop Music & Tickets

Click any of the store links below and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
That's How We Roll

That's How We Roll

Telarc Records
2011

buy
Act Your Age

Act Your Age

Immergent Records
2008

buy
The Phat Pack

The Phat Pack

Immergent Records
2006

buy
XXL

XXL

Unknown label
2003

buy

Related Articles

Read Fearless And Kind CD/LP/Track Review
Fearless And Kind
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: November 14, 2018
Read 25th Anniversary Project CD/LP/Track Review
25th Anniversary Project
by Jack Bowers
Published: November 14, 2018
Read Any Day Now CD/LP/Track Review
Any Day Now
by Mark Sullivan
Published: November 14, 2018
Read Adrift CD/LP/Track Review
Adrift
by Roger Farbey
Published: November 14, 2018
Read Folkjazz from Finland CD/LP/Track Review
Folkjazz from Finland
by Anthony Shaw
Published: November 14, 2018
Read Circulate Susanna CD/LP/Track Review
Circulate Susanna
by Karl Ackermann
Published: November 13, 2018
Read "The Child in Me" CD/LP/Track Review The Child in Me
by Friedrich Kunzmann
Published: November 23, 2017
Read "The Quest" CD/LP/Track Review The Quest
by Geno Thackara
Published: April 15, 2018
Read "Spavati, Mozda Sanjati" CD/LP/Track Review Spavati, Mozda Sanjati
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: November 19, 2017
Read "Alive In The East?" CD/LP/Track Review Alive In The East?
by Chris May
Published: June 22, 2018
Read "Higher" CD/LP/Track Review Higher
by Jim Trageser
Published: August 16, 2018
Read "Scarlett Roses" CD/LP/Track Review Scarlett Roses
by Doug Collette
Published: November 26, 2017