Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Gordon Goodwin's Big Phat Band Was Burning At Cincy's Princeton High School

The tightest and most powerful big band performing today has to be Gordon Goodwin's Big Phat Band. My pals Wayne Miller and Kim Harrod joined me for a road trip yesterday to Princeton High School in Cincinnati to hear the incredible band. It was nice seeing that friends Miles Osland, Rich Byrd, and Gregory Wing had also made the journey up I-75 to witness and enjoy the event.

Phat Band Sound Check

Arriving early, we made our way down the long hallway to the back of the stage hoping to meet some of the musicians before the show. We found the band onstage executing a sound check and having a short rehearsal. The three of us had fun looking on.

With Gordon Goodwin

It was cool meeting Gordon Goodwin. I told him that I have been enjoying following him and the band on Twitter and on the web. He has a great talent for marketing the band and is a phenomenal composer, arranger, and player. During the concert he primarily played piano, but he did blow a great solo on tenor sax as well.

The band played some of my favorite Big Phat Band charts including "Hit The Ground Running", "Watermelon Man", "That's How We Roll", "Backrow Politics", "The Jazz Police", and a great arrangement of Gershwin's "Rhapsody In Blue". They also played "Race To The Bridge", a chart that will be included on their upcoming album. Fine jazz solos were heard from Francisco Torres, Wayne Bergeron, Bob Summers, Brian Scanlon, Jay Mason, and many others. Drummer Bernie Dresel and bassist Rick Shaw cooked all night long. I particularily enjoyed a tune that featured the wonderful trombone section of John Allred, Charlie Morrilas, Francisco Torres, and Craig Ware.

Eric Marienthal Was Smokin' On His Alto Sax

Lead alto saxman Eric Marienthal, whose new cd "Just Around The Corner" made it to #1 on the R & R Smooth Jazz Charts, played several fiery solos during the concert. I enjoyed his feature on "Play That Funky Music". What a hot player he is!

With Trumpet Ace Wayne Bergeron

The only thing that could have been better is the pa system. The main house speakers clipped and crackled throughout the evening during many of the solos. The eq setting on the primary solo microphone in front of the bandstand needed serious adjustment. I was sitting in the front row, so it didn't bother me too much, as I could hear the natural sound of the instruments on most of the solos.

On the way home, Kim, Wayne, and I stopped at Shakey's Pub & Grub for some of their award winning fish. We talked about the concert. Wayne was impressed with the tightness of the ensemble. Kim liked the players' mastery of their instruments. We all liked the power, technique, great charts, high energy, and exciting solos the unit offered up. This is a big band on steroids! It's Gordon Goodwin's Big Phat Band.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Celebrating Our 25th Year Wedding Anniversary In Gatlinburg

January 19th marked our 25th year wedding anniversary. We decided to go to Gatlinburg for a few days during the kids' spring break in April. We dropped them off the other day at the farm to stay with Papaw & Mamaw Lucas and headed to the Smoky Mountains.

We stayed at Shakey Puddin', a cabin in the mountains between Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. The Puddin' was well equipped with a game room featuring a pool table and Ms. Pacman. The cabin also offered a hot tub, jacuzzi, a nice deck, direct tv, and lots more. Sharon liked everything about the cabin, except for the name.

We ate at several fine restaurants. I think my favorite dinner was at Bubba Gump Shrimp Company. Louisiana cajun shrimp and rice...mmm, mmm, mighty nice. Sharon's favorite was a fantastic steak at Bear Creek Grill. We also liked the apple fritters at The Apple Barn in Pigeon Forge.

Hot Sauce Heaven At Pepper Palace

We visited some of the downtown stores. Sharon spent lots of time looking at the stupid stuff. I, on the other hand, spend quality shopping time in The Original Jerky Store and Pepper Palace. The Original Jerky Store offered all kinds of jerky. I found elk, venison, kangaroo, buffalo, alligator, and oh, so much more. Pepper Palace had shelves and shelves of sauces and dips. They also offered chips and taste samples of many flavors. I think I was in there over an hour.

The Original Jerky Store Offered So Much From Which To Choose

The entire getaway was fun. It was great that I didn't even have to miss any gigs. I was able to play my Sunday gig at Caproni's Restaurant in Maysville, make the Tennessee trip, and still get back in time for my Wednesday evening gig at Giuseppe's Ristorante Italiano in Lexington. Sharon and I agree that we will do this more often.