“The Big Phat Band provides potent testimony to the sheer
exhilaration of big band jazz…a combination of
crisp accuracy and fiery soloing.”
(Don Heckman, LA Times.)
Big Phat Band Review
Comprised mostly of little-known but highly capable
West Coast studio musicians ex-Chuck Mangione guitarist
Grant Geissman was the most recognizable name the Big
Phat Band delivered Goodwin’s charts with unflagging
energy and an appropriately professional polish. Trombonist
Andy Martin and tenor saxophonist Brian Scanlon stood out
among the soloists; trumpeter Rick Sorenson skillfully
supplied the high note work; and drummer Bernie Dresel
proved adept at powering the 18-member ensemble through
a variety of grooves.
As for Goodwin, his piano playing was mostly setup and
punctuation, though he did show off some nice chops during
one brief solo on “Swinging For The Fences” (an extended
reimagining of “Sweet Georgia Brown”), and even picked up
a tenor sax for a swinging chorus on “Count Bubba’s
As a composer/arranger, he seems still in the process of
assimilating his various influences, but nevertheless is
capable of some inventive and colorful writing - one
standout example being the sax section feature that opened
“Hunting Wabbits,” a tribute to the Warner Brothers cartoon
scores that featured the music of composer Carl Stalling.
High Maintenance was an effective concert opener, the
sort of chart that used to be called a flag waver, and El
Macho Muchacho was a piquant cross-border blend of
salsa, samba and country guitar licks from Geissman.
Goodwin also did a nice job expanding his slight theme for
the film Attack of The Killer Tomatoes into a full-length big
band piece, morphing it into an evocative minor-key blues.
Less successful was a superfluous cover version of “Play
That Funky Music,” which seemed to exist mostly to give
alto saxophonist Sal Lozano a chance to show off a frantic
pastiche of Dave Sanborn and Maceo Parker licks.
Overall, the Big Phat Band is a slick outfit that puts on an
entertaining show, and other jazz groups might even learn a
bit from their presentational style