Gordon Goodwin's Big Phat Band with Art Tatum as soloist
Pianist Art Tatum was once described as "the greatest soloist in jazz history, regardless of instrument." He passed away at age 47 in 1956, cutting short his legendary career. Now, imagine being able to collaborate with Tatum today, to have him as the front man for your big band in new arrangements and recordings. This was the dream of bandleader Gordon Goodwin, realized with his L.A. big band in their new album, Act Your Age.
"Act Your Age" includes Art Tatum in re-performance, playing with the big band
Art Tatum was recorded anew as part of Gordon's arrangement of the song "Yesterdays, " using techniques developed by Zenph Studios, Inc. Zenph's unique process turns audio recordings into virtual musicians, whose re-performances precisely replicate their playing in the original recordings. Zenph captures their musical nuances, with details about the pedal actions, volume, and articulations in micro-second timings. This new data was played back on a state-of-the-art Yamaha Disklavier Pro concert grand piano. The process results in the production of pristine new renderings that transcend the limitations of the original recording process.
"Yesterdays" is nominated for the Best Instrumental Arrangement, and the entire Act Your Age album is nominated in the Best Big Band category. Zenph founder and president, Dr. John Q. Walker, said of these nominations: "The artistic genius of Art Tatum, so exceptionally re-performed on Sony's Piano Starts Here album, has given rise to a new creative work - brilliantly composed, arranged, and performed by Gordon Goodwin and the Big Phat Band. This is our first collaboration, and having two GRAMMY nominations to confirm the excellence of our process is just wonderful. Zenph Studios is proud of our association with Gordon Goodwin, and we're thrilled by the musicality of these performances - separated by time, but united by our technology."
Zenph's solo album of Tatum was released by Sony BMG in June 2008 and has been enthusiastically received by the critics. "This is a crucially important release in musical history, " wrote Stereophile magazine. Gary Giddins, in JazzTimes, said "it blew my socks off." JazzReview.com observed "If you buy only one solo jazz piano recording this (or any) year, make it Piano Starts Here."
Zenph's work was named one of the "Best Ideas of the Year" by The New York Times Magazine and has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, Stereophile, The Absolute Sound, National Public Radio, the CBC, and the BBC. And, Gordon Goodwin and the GRAMMY committee agree: the Art Tatum re-performance swings!
Zenph Studios, Inc. is based in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. The company's focus is building software for understanding - and re-creating - precisely how musicians perform. Sony BMG's first CDs - re-performances of Glenn Gould and Art Tatum - feature vastly improved sound using Zenph's process, which lets virtual artists play and record once again with astonishing fidelity. Zenph's next two projects will feature re-performances by Rachmaninoff and Oscar Peterson, and are due in 2009.
Having won the 2006 Academy Award for his instrumental arrangement of "Incredits" from the Pixar film The Incredibles, as well as three Emmy Awards and five GRAMMY nominations, you would think that Goodwin had fulfilled his dreams and achieved all of his goals. Not by a long shot. He has yet another channel for success, as leader of L.A.'s most exciting 18-piece big band jazz ensemble, Gordon Goodwin's Big Phat Band. Established in 2000, the Big Phat Band has quickly become one of the most hard-swinging large jazz ensembles, comprising L.A.'s finest musicians. It celebrates and personifies the best of the big band tradition with a contemporary and original sound. Gordon's witty and insightful arrangements propel the listener on a journey through a myriad of styles: blues, swing, classical, hard-hitting jazz, and even an homage to Looney Tunes. In addition to Art Tatum, Act Your Age features Patti Austin, Chick Corea, Dave Gruisin, and Lee Ritenour.
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