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The Phat Pack by Gordon Goodwin The Big Phat Band

By now Gordon Goodwin should be a household name for anyone who enjoys good music or good movies. Composing songs since youth, Goodwin has created music for such raging hits as "The Incredibles," for which he won a Grammy. He scored "Attack of the Killer Tomatoes." And, he worked on the music behind the newly released movie, "Snakes On A Plane."

Goodwin and his 18 piece band are also working on the upcoming Looney Tunes/Warner Brothers Animation, holiday DVD, "Bah Humduck."

It's easy to see the humor Goodwin packs into his music. He believes music should be fun. Maybe that's why he has such a following among the high-schoolers, who treat the band like rock stars. That is his intent: bringing great music to an ageless audience. Goodwin says he often sees a three-generation family at his performances.

The Phat Pack is definitely not your average big band swing sound. This group of musicians live for what they do, taking time throughout the year from their own regular gigs, to assemble for this album.

"Cut 'N Run" begins this CD with the flair for which this group is known. Excellence in timing, precision moves and challenging runs distinguish this inexhaustable ensemble of musicians, including David Sanborn and Take 6. Sheer swank with elegant sounds of the original big bands and a guest appearance by Dianne Reeves on "Too Close For Comfort" keep the audience affixed to this CD.

Bernie Dresel does a hot drum solo before joined by a swinging sax on "Count Bubba's Revenge." An interesting play between trombone and keyboard continues as the band provides the rich, exciting rhythm.

Reaching into a piece of Americana, the band steps up to "Play that Funky Music" big band style--very upbeat, uplifting and lots of fun, just as it was meant to be; sax blows shamelessly! . Showing the real genius of this group, the title tune, "The Phat Pack," begins as a night-time, slinky, horn driven melody with long, mysterious notes backed by deep chords on keyboard. Wailing sax, bantering with deep bass, culminating in an exciting eclipse of instruments.

Beginning on a lighter note, introducing flute to this CD, "Hunting Wabbits 2 (A Bad Hare Day)" gives the audience just a hint of the fun and excitement Gordon Goodwin packs into his songs. It's easy to picture a character being chased through a cartoon scene. Deepening the melody, featuring extreme horns, and punctuating with stealthy drumming, "LA Almeja Pequeña (The Little Clam)" is another light and lively tune perfect for an animated scene followed by "Get In Line."

The trumpet driven opening on, "Attack Of The Killer Tomatoes" is joined by spirited sax, backed by a myriad of sounds. Tense moments, intertwined with sprightly moves and an occasional scream keeps the intensity peaked--beginning to the very grand, finale.

Cascading keyboards and low horns move mysteriously through "Whodunnit"? Breaking up the lively set, the ultra smooth classic, "It Was A Very Good Year" featuring Take 6, brings the listener back to big band nostalgia, with soft, rich vocals.

Closing the CD, "Ever Braver, Ever Stronger" (An American Elegy) is a solemn reminder of the solidarity of our fellow brothers and sisters sharing a love of country and humaneness which unites us all.

This CD is accompanied by an interactive DVD, featuring lively interviews with Eric Marienthal, Wayne Bergeron and other band members. Also, a clever interactive quiz, taking the winner into a special area of the DVD.

Entertaining, riveting and delightful. Gordon Goodwin and the Phat Pack are genuine musical geniuses.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Gordon Goodwin The Big Phat Band
  • CD Title: The Phat Pack
  • Genre: Contemporary Jazz / Modern
  • Year Released: 2006
  • Record Label: Immergent
  • Rating: Five Stars
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