Gordon Goodwin's Big Phat Band

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Gordon Goodwin's Big Phat Band is a modern big band which successfully blends elements of jazz and rock. Goodwin, who serves as keyboardist, composer, arranger and conductor, has created music that proves to be consistently catchy to the listener and challenging to his musicians. The leader obviously loves a good laugh. The playful staccato brass and reeds are the centerpiece of "Hunting Wabbits" before it transforms into a brisk bluesy vehicle. "Horn of Plenty," his tribute to the late Latin jazz great Tito Puente, features trumpeter Wayne Bergeron, and "The Jazz Police" is a rockish but amusing slap at closed-minded critics and radio hosts. He also makes good use of special guests. The vocal group Take 6 is featured on swinging charts of the standards "Comes Love" and "It's All Right With Me." Clarinetist Eddie Daniels is showcased in the snappy "Thad Said No" and a delicious rearrangement of the well-known theme from Mozart's 40th Symphony. Singer Johnny Mathis, hardly a jazz singer, nonetheless has fun with R&B oldie "Let the Good Times Roll." Rarely are big bands like Gordon Goodwin's Big Phat Band so able to combine such a diversity of influences into such a tantalizing mix.

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