Thanks to generous support from the Laycock Center for Creative Collaboration in the Arts at BYU, Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band will join with BYU’s Synthesis at this weekend’s Jazz Festival with BYU and Utah high school students. This performance marks the first time a professional big band has come to Utah, according to organizer and BYU faculty member Ron Brough.
Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band and Synthesis will perform Saturday, March 13, in the de Jong Concert Hall at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $9, with $3 off with a student ID, and can be purchased at the Fine Arts Ticket Office, (801) 375-4322 or at www.byu.edu/hfac.
Big Phat Band is led by Emmy-winning composer Gordon Goodwin and includes 16 of the biggest names in Los Angeles’ music scene. Their debut album “Swingin’ For the Fences” received two Grammy nominations and is a best-selling jazz item. Members of Big Phat Band have performed and recorded for some of the biggest names in the entertainment industry, including Madonna, Celine Dion, Billy Joel, Ray Charles, Paul McCartney and others.
The BYU Jazz Festival involves BYU’s jazz students and 32 high school and junior high students, and usually includes one guest soloist.
“I thought it would be a unique opportunity to have an entire big band perform at the jazz festival so the students involved could see more than just a soloist,” said Ron Brough, who is coordinating this year’s festival.
Brough said the students’ ability to collaborate with seasoned professionals helps teach what a big jazz band is all about. “More important than the performance is being able to have some of the members of a professional big band give clinics and interact with the students.” This year all of the school’s performances will be videotaped for later use. “[The bands] will be able to replay their instruction from a major artist from Los Angeles working with their band.”
Brough said the audience can expect to see “top quality jazz for rock bottom prices. It’s going to open their minds, and their ears, and their hearts, and everything to something they’ve never experienced,” he said.
The BYU Jazz Festival will begin Thursday evening, March 11, with the BYU Jazz Legacy Dixieland Band, followed by the Friday night concert with Synthesis. Saturday begins an entire day of secondary school big band and combo performances, complete with clinics.
Writer: Varde Hadfield