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That's How We Roll

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Album Review

Upon seeing the title That's How We Roll, people who don't know anything about the history of pianist/tenor saxophonist Gordon Goodwin and his Big Phat Band might assume that this is a hip-hop recording. "That's how we roll" is a popular expression in hip-hop circles (at least as of 2011), but like a lot of the bebop and hipster slang of the '40s and '50s, hip-hop slang often reaches people who aren't necessarily part of hip-hop's core audience, and that includes a jazz instrumentalist like Goodwin, who is jazz-oriented on this 67-minute CD but doesn't conduct himself like a jazz purist from start to finish. Goodwin has his traditional big-band influences (Count Basie, Buddy Rich), but it's obvious that he also has a taste for soul and funk; in fact, some of the horn arrangements on That's How We Roll successfully find the link between Basie's funkiness and the funkiness of '70s funk/soul bands such as Parliament/Funkadelic, Tower of Power and Earth, Wind & Fire. That's How We Roll has its share of tracks that could easily be described as big-band soul-jazz, including "Rippin' n Runnin'," "Howdiz Songo?," and the title tune. But "Race to the Bridge" and "Gaining on You" have boppish melodies, and Goodwin's hard-swinging arrangement of George Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue" (which is the only song on this 2011 release he didn't compose) is quite Basie-minded. Meanwhile, the least jazz-friendly track is "Never Enough," which features Take 6 and is the only vocal offering on a predominantly instrumental CD; "Never Enough" is the only time the album ventures into outright funk (as opposed to jazz-funk or soul-jazz). That's How We Roll is not an album that was recorded with jazz purists in mind, and at the same time, there is way too much improvisation for the smooth jazz crowd. But this is an enjoyable outing if one is seriously into big-band jazz and also has a strong appreciation of soul and funk.

Customer Reviews

Great CD!!!

Being an avid BPB fan, I could NOT wait for this album. And it certainly did not dissapoint!! There are certainly some different things Gordon does with his songwriting, which is great, and overall it is an amazing album. The band is as clean as ever, and there are surprises lurking in every measure!! A GREAT buy!! Highly Recommended.

Off the "charts!"

I love jazz, and BPB! I'm very happy to hear and see yet another album released. Go Gordon Goodwin and his Big Phat Band!!!

I knew 25 years ago

I first saw Gordon Goodwin (along with Grant Geissman) playing with the Cal State Northridge (or was it Fullerton?) combo and big band at the UC Berkeley Pacific Coast Collegiate Jazz Festival in 1976 (or was it 1977). I said to myself "we'll be hearing a lot of those two". I wasn't surprised when Grant landed a gig with Chuck Mangione, and I'm not surprised Gordon put together the swinginist big band since Toshiko/Lew (and Bob Florence) (and Rob McConnell). Great arrangements, great solos, humor, and Dave Koz, what more can one ask for? (Wayne Bergeron!). If you like big band jazz, buy this!

Top Albums and Songs by Gordon Goodwin's Big Phat Band

That's How We Roll, Gordon Goodwin's Big Phat Band
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Customer Ratings