Gordon Goodwin

Gordon L. Goodwin (born 1954) is an American pianist, saxophonist, composer, arranger, and conductor. He is the leader of Gordon Goodwin's Big Phat Band, and on faculty at the Los Angeles College of Music. He has won Grammy Awards and Daytime Emmy Awards and has received over twenty Grammy nominations for his compositions and arrangements.

Gordon Goodwin
Born1954 (age 65–66)
Wichita, Kansas, U.S.
GenresJazz, big band
Occupation(s)Musician, composer, arranger, conductor
InstrumentsPiano, saxophone
LabelsImmergent, Telarc
Associated actsGordon Goodwin's Big Phat Band

Early yearsEdit

Gordon Goodwin was born in Wichita, Kansas. He wrote his first big band chart, called "Hang Loose", when he was in the 7th grade. He continued his musical education at Cal State Northridge with Joel Leach and Bill Calkins. Following graduation from college, Goodwin was employed as a musician at the Disneyland theme park in Anaheim, California. Subsequently, Disney approached him to write a musical show featuring past and present Mouseketeers, including Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera.[1] Goodwin was later recruited by Louie Bellson's big band, where he played with Pete Christlieb and Don Menza. He went on to play under Les Hooper and Grant Geissman.

Big Phat BandEdit

Since then, Goodwin has risen to prominence in the American studio music scene with his big band, The Big Phat Band.[2] In the band, Goodwin plays piano and occasionally both the soprano and tenor saxophone. This band brings together players such as Wayne Bergeron, Eric Marienthal, and Andy Martin. These detailed music charts are all written or adapted by Gordon Goodwin. Several of his songs are plays on old jazz tunes: a prime example is "Sing, Sang, Sung", which mimics the famous Louis Prima song "Sing, Sing, Sing".

Under Goodwin's direction, the band has released six albums: Swingin' for the Fences, which received two Grammy nominations, and XXL, which received three. The Phat Pack was released on June 13, 2006, and Bah, Humduck! A Looney Tunes Christmas (Music from and Inspired by the Motion Picture) was also released in 2006. Act Your Age, was released on September 30, 2008. That's How We Roll was released on April 12, 2011. Goodwin won the 2012 Grammy for Best Instrumental Arrangement for his arrangement of George Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue.

Popular cultureEdit

As a film scorer, Goodwin has worked on such films as The Majestic, Glory Road, National Treasure, Remember the Titans, Armageddon, Star Trek: Nemesis, The Incredibles, Hot Rod, Get Smart, Snakes on a Plane, Race to Witch Mountain, Coach Carter, Bad Boys II, Con Air, Gone in 60 Seconds, the classic cult film Attack of the Killer Tomatoes, and Enemy of the State. His work in television includes music for the TV series Animaniacs, Pinky and the Brain, Tom and Jerry Tales, Histeria!, Road Rovers and Freakazoid!. His recording history includes performances with artists as diverse as Mel Tormé, Ray Charles and Christina Aguilera. Goodwin himself has received many individual awards, including a Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Arrangement for his work on the feature film The Incredibles.[2] He is also a three time Emmy winner.

Goodwin has also been a guest conductor for such groups as the London Symphony Orchestra and Seattle Symphony Orchestra. Goodwin composed the original soundtrack for the Haunted Mansion Holiday, a Nightmare Before Christmas inspired twist on the Haunted Mansion in Disneyland. That was later replaced by a soundtrack composed by John Debney, but some of his score remains there today.

Sheet musicEdit

His music is published by companies such as Hal Leonard, Alfred Publishing, and Walrus Music.

Awards and honorsEdit

Grammy AwardsEdit

  • Best Instrumental Arrangement: "The Incredits" (2005), "Rhapsody in Blue" (2011), "On Green Dolphin Street" (2013)
  • Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album: Life in the Bubble (2014)

Grammy Award nominationsEdit

  • Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album: XXL (2003), Act Your Age (2008)
  • Best Instrumental Composition: "Sing, Sang, Sung" (2000), "Hunting Wabbits" (2003), "Hit the Ground Running" (2008), "Hunting Wabbits 3 (Get Off My Lawn)" (2011), "California Pictures for String Quartet" (2013), "Life in the Bubble" (2014)
  • Best Instrumental Arrangement: "Bach 2 Part Invention in D Minor" (2000), "Attack of the Killer Tomatoes" (2006), "Yo Tannenbaum" (2007), "Yesterdays" (2008), "Salt Peanuts! (Mani Salado)" (2012)
  • Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s): "Comes Love" (2003)
  • Best Arrangement, Instrumental or A Cappella: "Get Smart" (2014)
  • Best Arrangement, Instruments and Vocals: "Party Rockers" (2014), "Do You Hear What I Hear?" (2016)[3]

Daytime Emmy AwardsEdit

  • Music Direction and Composition, Animaniacs (1998, 1999)[4][5]
  • Outstanding Achievement in Music Direction and Composition, Histeria! (2000)[6]


  • Goodwin was initiated into the men's music fraternity, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, as a National Honorary member and was made a Signature Sinfonian at the 55th National Convention in New Orleans, LA, 2015.[7]


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Sandler, Eric. "Gordon Goodwin Pt. 1: The Musician, The Composer". www.revive-music.com. Retrieved 23 January 2014.
  2. ^ a b Ruhlmann, William. "Gordon Goodwin: Biography". Allmusic. Retrieved 26 February 2011.
  3. ^ "Gordon Goodwin". The Recording Academy. 14 May 2017. Retrieved 22 June 2017.
  4. ^ Adalian, Josef (17 May 1999). "Emmy's 'Rosie' Glow". Variety. Retrieved 22 June 2017.
  5. ^ "PBS early Daytime Emmy leader". Variety. 11 May 1998. Retrieved 22 June 2017.
  6. ^ Grego, Melissa (15 May 2000). "Emmy time for 'Rosie' & 'Bill Nye'". Variety. Retrieved 22 June 2017.
  7. ^ "2015 Signature Sinfonians".
  8. ^ "Gordon Goodwin's Big Phat Band | Album Discography". AllMusic. Retrieved 24 May 2017.