Gordon Goodwin is on a mission. As a champion of a modern big-band sound and the kind of music education that launched his career, he’s carrying on the swing tradition with Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band. But the Los Angeles-based, 18-member ensemble performs jazz standards only occasionally; instead, the seven-year-old band’s repertoire is made up of Goodwin’s buoyant compositions and dizzying arrangements of pop, jazz and R&B tunes. The group’s fusion can be heard on its latest album, The Phat Pack (Silverline). The CD features guest appearances by Dianne Reeves, David Sanborn and Take 6-all Grammy winners happy to take a ride on this sonic roller coaster of brass, sass and swing.
A 2006 Grammy winner for arranging “The Incredits,” a dynamic piece from the animated Pixar hit The Incredibles, Goodwin looks something like an adult 3-D version of the film’s character Dash. (For those unfamiliar with the movie, Dash is the son whose super skills are lightning speed and energy.) Goodwin’s Grammy helped raise the profile of his Big Phat Band, in which the youthful 50-something also plays piano and saxophone.