Act Your Age (Immergent Records)

Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band

Released September 30, 2008

Grammy Nominee for Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album 2009




For the fourth recorded edition of his Big Phat Band, Grammy-winning Gordon Goodwin in “Act Your Age” continues to display dynamic big band writing executed with complete aplomb. A bevy of guest soloists is on display in tracks by the accomplished pianists Chick Corea and Dave Grusin, vocalist Patti Austin, and guitarist Lee Ritenour, who is also the producer of the CD. In addition, Goodwin illustrates his genuine appreciation of the legacy of the enduring jazz masters in the intriguing, cutting edge re-recording by Art Tatum of “Yesterday,” which is surrounded by his modern chart of the Jerome Kern classic tune. Goodwin’s bow to the recent past is his version of Herbie Hancock’s “Watermelon Man,” dressed in brand new clothes and arranged in a shuffle rhythm. Patti Austin digs deeply into Earth, Wind, and Fire’s “September,” along with Lee Ritenour’s vigorous guitar solo. Chick Corea recreates his “Señor Mouse” with the same success as his original version, but this time he is heard in a rare big band context, riffing with The Big Phat Band. The celebrated screen composer, Dave Grusin, and his longtime musical associate Ritenour, work perfectly in tandem providing added flavor to Grusin’s composition, “Punta Del Soul.” The broad sweep of Goodwin’s impressive composing and arranging credentials are much in evidence through his originals including standouts “Hit The Ground Running,” “Act Your Age,” and “Chance Encounters.” Running the musical gamut from soul grooves to samba, to contemporary New Orleans, musically he is equally at home. But the high caliber of Goodwin’s writing demands a high caliber ensemble to play it. That is exactly what the Big Phat Band offers, in addition to featuring soloists that both understand and are in turn inspired by his writing: Alto saxophonist Eric Marienthal, tenor saxophonist Brian Scanlon, the Band’s vaunted trumpet section of Wayne Bergeron, Dan Fornero, Dan Savant, and Bob Summers, trombonist Andy Martin, and drummer Bernie Dresel. The Bonus DVD is loaded with great stuff that Gordon’s fans expect from him including videos, interviews, commentary, band bios, games, “make your own mix,” and the entire in stunning DVD quality 5.1 surround sound.

Track Listing:

1. Hit the Ground Running (Gordon Goodwin) 4:56

2. Watermelon Man (Herbie Hancock) 5:28

3. September (Al McKay / Allee Willis / Maurice White) 4:29

4. Yesterdays (Jerome Kern / Otto Harbach) 3:19

5. Señor Mouse (Chick Corea) 5:00

6. Punta del Soul (Dave Grusin) 5:04

7. Act Your Age (Gordon Goodwin) 5:47

8. Chance Encounters (Gordon Goodwin) 7:35

9. Backrow Politics (Gordon Goodwin) 8:05

10. East Coast Envy (Gordon Goodwin) 5:13

11. El Macho Muchacho (Gordon Goodwin) 6:10

12. Gumbo Street (Gordon Goodwin) 6:33

13. Floating Home (Gordon Goodwin) 6:22


Gordon Goodwin: piano (4), tenor saxophone (12), soprano saxophone (8)

Sal Lozano: alto saxophone, flute, piccolo

Brian Scanion: tenor saxophone, flute, clarinet

Jeff Driskill: tenor saxophone, flute, clarinet

Jay Mason: baritone saxophone, bass clarinet

Bernie Dresel: drums

Brad Dutz: percussions

Dan Fornero: trumpet

Dan Savant: trumpet

Bob Summers: trumpet (1-6, 9)

Pete DeSienna: trumpet (7, 8, 10-12)

Andrew Synowiec: guitar (1-7, 9)

Grant Giessman: guitar (8, 10-12)

Rick Shaw: bass

Andy Martin: trombone

Charlie Morillas: trombone

Craig Ware: trombone

Francisco Torres: trombone (3, 5, 6)

Alex Iles: trombone (1, 2, 4, 7-12)

Patti Austin: vocals (3)

Dave Grusin: piano (6)


Lee Ritenour: guitar (3, 6)

Chick Corea: piano (5)

Art Tatum (through technology): piano (4)

Eric Marienthal: soprano saxophone, alto saxophone, flute

Wayne Bergeron: trumpet (9)

Nathan East: electric bass (7)

Recorded at Capitol Records, Hollywood, CA; J & P Studios, Simi Valley, CA; J&P Studios, Simi Valley, CA; Rimrock Studios, Thousand Oaks, CA; Savant Studios, Glendale, CA; Schnee Studios, Studio City, CA

Produced by Lee Ritenour with Gordon Goodwin and Dan Savant

Recorded and Mixed by Tommy Vicari

Mastered by Doug Sax

Photography by Rex Bullington

Design: Mel Canlas

Executive-Producers: John Trickett and David A. Helfant


Band leader, composer and instrumentalist Gordon Goodwin takes his 18-piece Big Phat Band to another level, producing a rare CD/DVD set and garnishing a heap of praise from critics and the Grammy folks alike. Act Your Age is one heck of an album, having received three 2008 Grammy nominations for Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album, Best Instrumental Composition (Goodwin’s “Hit The Ground Running”), and Best Instrumental Arrangement (Goodwin’s arrangement of “Yesterdays”). This makes for a total of 11 nominations, and one overall win for Goodwin since 2000, when he began recording with the Big Phat Band. 
Already established as a first-rate composer and arranger, Goodwin presents seven originals along with dynamic arrangements of five standards, completing an exciting package of big band music. The Big Phat Band is a world-class orchestra, containing some of the best players on the west coast, including reedmen Eric Marienthal, Sal Lozano and Brian Scanion, trumpeters Wayne Bergeron and Bob Summers, and trombonists Andy Martin and Alex Isles. A multi-instrumentalist himself, Goodwin performs on the piano as well as tenor and soprano saxophone. 
For this unique recording, Goodwin brings in some special guests that help put the finishing touches to this outstanding set, even enlisting the talents of Art Tatum through the help of virtual technology, an electronic process by which the late pianist’s recording of the Jerome Kern classic “Yesterdays” is digitized and woven into a Goodwin big band arrangement. Others notable guest spots include Patti Austin’s vocal turn on “September,” also featuring guitarist Lee Ritenour. Ritenour also appears on “Punta Del Soul,” alongside longtime collaborator, pianist Dave Grusin. The great Chick Corea lays down some incredible piano lines on his own riveting “Senor Mouse.”

The title piece is a very bouncy, funky tune featuring bassist Nathan East and Marienthal on alto on perhaps the album’s wildest score. In contrast, Goodwin takes a tasteful bow on soprano for his beautiful, soft ballad “Chance Encounters,” another of the many outstanding tunes on Act Your Age. “Backrow Politics” offers a sampling of some excellent horn play from Bergeron and Summers, who both contribute terrific solos. Tenor saxophonist Scanion takes center stage on “East Coast Envy” and “El Macho Muchacho,” while the leader’s tenor shines on the finale, “Gumbo Street.”
Act Your Age has all the elements of a successful, award-wining album, with a cast of luminaries, gorgeous charts and first-rate musicianship from a world-class big band. Once again Gordon Goodwin and his Big Phat Band make a musical statement that lovers of the genre will not soon forget.

Edward Blanco (All About Jazz)