For ten years, saxophonist, pianist and Grammy-winning composer/arranger Gordon Goodwin has been driving a train that won't stop. He first assembled his Big Phat Band in 2000-an ironic starting point for an 18-piece big band, given that the fleeting neo-swing craze of the late '90s was just winding down. In the decade since their ambitious beginnings, the Big Phat Band has burned up stages and studios with an eclectic, intelligent and high-energy brand of music that marries the best elements of Ellington, Basie, John Barry and other big-band and orchestral jazz giants of the past 70 years. Their new CD -- "That's How We Roll" -- is a ten-song set of all-original material, save for an intriguing rendition of Gershwin's classic "Rhapsody in Blue."
If you lived in the greater Philadelphia area around 1980, you knew the name Papa John DeFrancesco. He was the dean of the Hammond organ at that time and an overlord of Philly's hard-bop-and-deep-groove bar-jazz scene. Famously, Papa John put aside his playing career to watch over his progeny, Joey DeFrancesco, who by age 17 would start touring as a member of Miles Davis' band. But by the mid-'90s, with Joey grown and on his own, not only did Papa John resume his nights out behind the B-3, he started recording. He's made another trip to the studio for "A Philadelphia Story" -- not only bringing Joey along for the ride on trumpet but also with his guitar playing son John.