Sunday, October 26, 2014

The review you won't see on Amazon

I wrote this review of Gordon Goodwin's latest work a while back, when I was in the middle of enthusiastic throes for this phenomenal work. Somehow, the review got set aside and I'd lost track of it. Today, I pulled it out and reread it, and while I still like it and I still think it encompasses my true feelings about the work, I don't think Amazon buyers will get what I am saying. So, I'm going to put this review up here exclusively on Late to Jazz, and write something else for Amazon. I might even post that, too, eventually. We'll see. Here it is:


It took me a while to get around to listening to this with full attention and seriousness, because I got distracted by the Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga recording. Now that I’ve spent a good while absorbing Gordon Goodwin’s latest work, I’m ready to weigh in. To my ears, the music written, played and produced over the years by Gordon Goodwin and his band has never been anything but swinging, shouting, hand-clapping, heart stopping, dance-inducing joy, and I wish I could say that Life in the Bubble continues Goodwin’s and BPB’s trend, but I have to say, it does not.
Gordon Goodwin's Big Phat Band's latest, and, dare we say it, best!
Because this recording is way better than all that.

These are some of the best sounding, hard swinging, jazzy, soulful, bluesy, big band tracks that have been recorded, not just in the last ten years (say), but, possibly ever. Sure Maria Schneider continues to be inventive and productive, and the only thing that stopped Bob Brookmeyer from continuing to make truly great modern jazz big band recordings was his unforunate death. There are a few jazz collectives making wonderful big band recordings, and of course, Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra raise the bar every time they play, but then came Goodwin’s Bubble. This recording is just spectacular. There is so much going on, so much inventiveness, and the push of swing, sound, and clever, inspired solos is relentless from start to finish. This is one of those CD’s that after you’ve listened to it once through, you sort of feel like it isn’t even over when it’s over. It keeps cycling through your mind. Then, when you listen a second time (and third, and fourth), you wonder how you missed those hard hitting horn shouts, or the subtle stylistic shift on piano or sax, or the weaving bass line that came out of nowhere. A detailed song-by-song explanation of the exciting and inspiring music that waits here would take a lifetime to write poetically and accurately, so all I’ll say is, this is a Phat-tastic CD and if you love jazz and big band music, this is a must buy. It’s phenomenal.