California bandleader Gordon Goodwin is known for his work on Disney soundtracks like “The Incredibles” (for which he nabbed one of his many Grammy awards) and his extensive work in keeping big bands alive. On his band’s sixth release, he continues that tradition, and features several guests to enhance the feel. Saxophonists Dave Koz and Gerald Albright join in and give extra spice to “Rippin’ N Runnin’” alongside regular member Eric Marienthal. A capella group Take 6 lend their pipes to the funky “Never Enough” with incredible results—one wonders why they don’t collaborate with bands more often. It also helps that bassist Marcus Miller lends a hand with his electric bass, which gives the tune even more punch.
Goodwin writes big-band music for the contemporary listener—if in doubt, listen to the treatment given to Gershwin’s timeless “Rhapsody in Blue.” The tune opens with an uptempo crescendo that leads to the familiar clarinet-centered intro. The band then goes into a more traditional bluesy groove, which lasts about a minute until they pick up the tempo and play at breakneck speed. This is clearly not your grandfather’s big band album. (Ernest Barteldes)
“That’s How We Roll”