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Gordon Goodwin & the Big Phat Band

Mr. Accessibility: Gordon Goodwin and the Big Phat Band make big-band music for the masses

Gordon Goodwin
Gordon Goodwin

For most big bands, the feel and the concept come easier than the performance. Precision, managing to make umpteen players work together as a cohesive unit-that all comes later. For Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band, the process worked in exactly the opposite direction. Consisting of seasoned L.A. session musicians, virtuosity has never been an issue for Goodwin’s ensemble.

“I think that we’ve finally gotten to the point where we aren’t just 18 guys playing the notes flawlessly,” says Goodwin, whose responsibilities in the band include composing, arranging, playing keyboards and sometimes blowing tenor and soprano sax. “We always were that. These guys are studio musicians, so they’re going to play all the right notes, in tune, tight, the first time through. But that’s not where it ends, and the question is, where do you get that nuance that you hear when you hear Count Basie?”

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