October 21, 2021 by 1888media
Multiple Grammy/Emmy Award winner Gordon Goodwin returns to forefront of adventurous compositions and modern jazz with “The Reset,” an urgent and topical 5-song EP, a bold foray into the intersection of composition and improvisation, a futuristic excursion brimming with purpose and cursive.
From the 7-minute title track, which seems to channel the ethos of Chick Corea’s Return to Forever, while unleashing its inner Dream Theater, to the funky sass and sizzle of “Six Feet Away,” one thing is inherently certain, its calligraphy pulls back the curtains and soars into areas few big bands have ventured.
Honoring the late great arranger/composer Sammy Nestico, who passed away earlier this year at the age of 96, with a pair of songs, the first being “My Man Sam” which swings with the same buoyancy as his former employer, Count Basie, for his Orchestra, and “Cell Talk,” which was the last chart Nestico wrote while in his early 90s. Sammy’s voice can be heard at the beginning of the song. Lovingly done, both expositions feel classic, yet fresh, an address to the best of us and what’s next.
The lone cover, and only vocal track, is a gorgeous reading of the David Foster-penned “Through the Fire,” a song first made famous by Chaka Khan, this time beautifully delivered by vocalist Vangie Gunn, who, in addition to her career singing on TV and Film soundtracks, has performed with Johnny Mathis, Herb Alpert, Barry Manilow, Patti Austin, Justin Timberlake, Melissa Manchester and Take 6.
Gordon recalls the impetus for The Reset, “Our collective experience dealing with the Covid-19 virus lead to a lot of change in our world. This composition was my attempt to reflect on some of the changes I felt in my life. It is fairly different from most of our other material. There is less emphasis on melody and structure with more free association, compositionally speaking. We also brought in more programming elements to enhance the performance of the Phat Band, like synth textures, drum loops, and SFX. But the focus of this track remains the amazing human beings that perform the music and this track represents one of our very best efforts.”
As a companion piece, 11 alternate mixes of two of the tracks are being made available as bonus content via the official Gordon Goodwin online store at Bandwear. Fans can purchase the premium digital content as a stand-alone offering or buy any format of his most recent album, 2020’s The Gordian Knot (on vinyl, CD, Blu-ray or flash drive) and receive a complimentary download of the tracks, 6 mixes of “Six Feet Away” and 5 mixes of the title track. Each mix highlights the solo efforts of a particular member of the Big Phat Band, so listeners can revel in the Marienthal soprano sax mix, the Rocha trumpet mix or the Goodwin Hammond B3 mix, to name a few.
Born in Wichita, Kansas, Goodwin’s parents moved to Southern California when Goodwin was four. After completing his formal music education at Cal State University-Northridge, Gordon began working at Disneyland in the theme park’s band. After a few years he was commissioned to work on a musical that featured past and present Mouseketeers (including Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera).
Upon hearing his music, the master drummer and bandleader Louie Bellson recruited Goodwin to join his band. That exposure led to studio work with the likes of Gil Scott-Heron, Mel Tormé, Ray Charles and legendary vocalist Johnny Mathis.
In 1999, Gordon founded the Big Phat Band for what he thought would be a single performance at his alma mater Cal State at Northridge. Since then, the Big Phat Band has recorded 10 albums, and in the process received 22 Grammy nominations. Goodwin won a Grammy for ‘Best Instrumental Arrangement’ for “Incredits” for the film The Incredibles and has been honored with 3 Emmy awards for his work on the Steven Spielberg-produced shows Animaniacs and Pinky and the Brain.
His work has been featured/utilized in more than 80 film & TV productions spanning the gamut of pop culture:, amplifying the likes of National Treasure, Star Trek: Nemesis, Snakes on a Plane, Get Smart, Remember the Titans, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, The Majestic (starring Jim Carrey), The Lion King, and Ratatouille.
Last year, Goodwin released the full-length album The Gordian Knot, a nod to the Greek mythology of a knot impossible to undo. Highlights from the collection include “Kneel Before Zod” a song about the super villain who destroyed Superman’s home planet, Krypton, “T.O.P. Adjacent,” a blazing tribute to Tower of Power, “Sunset and Vine,” a 6-minute stroll thru the looking mirror of the legendary Hollywood intersection, a re-make of “The Incredibles,” a tribute to famed drummer Buddy Rich called “The Buddy Complex,” and a sultry, sophisticated rendition of “Summertime,” a take on the aria composed by George Gershwin for the 1935 opera, Porgy and Bess, with vocals by Vangie Gunn.
In addition to being a regular staple at venues throughout Southern California, Goodwin is also the host of the popular long-running radio program, “Phat Tracks with Gordon Goodwin,” airing for the last 5 years on KJAZZ, America’s jazz and blues station.
Gordon Goodwin Shows/Performances:
Oct 29: West Coast Big Band Showcase (Little Phat Band) – The Westin LAX
Oct 30: Sammy Nestico Tribute w/ Gordon conducting the LA Jazz Orchestra – The Westin LAX
Nov 6: Yoshi’s, Oakland, CA (7:30 & 9:30) [Big Phat Band]
Dec 5: Vibrato Grill, Los Angeles, CA (Big Phat Band)
Dec 30: Catalina Jazz Club, Los Angeles, CA (Big Phat Band)
Dec 31: Catalina Jazz Club, Los Angeles, CA (Big Phat Band) [8:30 & 11:00pm]
“The Big Phat Band provides potent testimony to the sheer exhilaration of big band jazz…a combination of crisp accuracy and fiery soloing.” – LA Times
“I was immediately taken by Gordon’s contemporary musical viewpoint, the dynamics of his “Big Phat Band,” its bevy of superb soloists, and the exhilaration of its sound.” – Quincy Jones
“Gordon is an arranger of absolutely no limit of musical styles and composer of some of the best compositions ever. He is a man of exquisite musical taste. I am truly blessed to have him in my life.” —Johnny Mathis