April 14 2012 – Hot on the heels of his success at the Grammy Awards (where he won the accolade of ‘Best Instrumental Arrangement’ for his version of ‘Rhapsody in Blue’) composer and arranger Gordon Goodwin, in the splendid company of his Big Phat Band, rolled into San Diego’s Anthology for a performance of high energy and outstanding quality.
Goodwin certainly has an impressive resume as, leaving aside his latest award, he also picked up a Grammy in 2006 for his arrangement of ‘Incredits’ from the Pixar film The Incredibles. Gordon has also enjoyed eleven more Grammy nominations, picked up three Emmy Awards along the way and, since 2000, been the driving force behind his own creation Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band. Their latest release is titled ‘That’s How We Roll’ and it was around this wonderful collection that Goodwin built much of the band's Anthology performance.
Indeed the velvety title cut quickly had the packed and knowledgeable crowd hanging on every note and when the band followed it with the immensely creative ‘Rippin’ n Runnin’ the result was just as good.
As well as being a master musician Goodwin is also an engaging host with the ability to weld the set with some insightful and often humorous comment. In addition his generosity in sharing the lead amongst his band of ultra talented artists ensured immense variety and this was particularly so when inviting saxophonist Eric Marienthal to take centre stage for a zesty version of ‘Play That Funky Music’.
The trombone section came into its own for the intoxicatingly jazzy ‘Its Not Polite To Point’ which has a vibe of the kind that could well become addictive while another highlight in a performance crammed with them was that Grammy winning arrangement of ‘Rhapsody in Blue’ where the opening notes from the clarinet of Sal Lozano immediately transported those in the know to the set of Woody Allen’s timeless movie ‘Manhattan’.
Goodwin perfectly displayed his skill in writing for animated cinema with the hugely entertaining ‘Hunting Wabbits 3 – Get off My Lawn’ and when vocalist Becky Martin was called to the stage she contributed immensely to a fine rendition of ‘A Night In Tunisia’.
The closing number of ‘Race To The Bridge’ came all too quickly. The audience was left to luxuriate in the nostalgia that Goodwin generates for the big band era but which, paradoxically, never threatens originality. Built on a bed of technical excellence and a love for the music he has come up with a formula that makes Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band a ‘must see’ live act.