June 20, 2006
by Jim Newsom
Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band
The Phat Pack
Who: Television & film composer/conductor and his 18-piece band
Sounds like: The hottest big band on the planet
Is it any good? This one came to me from out of the blue and it has blown me away. Grammy and Emmy winner Goodwin calls this a tribute to Frank, Sammy and Dean, but really it’s a tour de force that transcends such a narrow description. Most of the thirteen tracks are originals, with guest stars stepping in on the cover tunes—David Sanborn’s alto sax taking the lead on “Play That Funky Music,” Dianne Reeves reprising “Too Close For Comfort” in a gorgeous arrangement, the unmistakable vocal blend of Take 6 on a swingin’ ride through Sinatra’s “It Was a Very Good Year.” Surprisingly, though, it’s those instrumental originals that will really knock you out. There’s cartoon humor in “Hunting Wabbits 2” and “Attack of the Killer Tomatoes,” Latin fun on “La Almeia Pequiena,” and ‘60s TV nostalgia on the title track and “Whodunnit?” And one cookin’ band throughout. Who says big bands are dead?
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