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How Big Can You Get?: The Music of Cab Calloway

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Album Review

Big Bad Voodoo Daddy's reputation as a pop star styled retro-jazz band has to be enhanced and authenticated by this homage to the leading commercial proponent of jump, jive, and wailing swing in the '30s and '40s, Cab Calloway. The band, with its solid horn section and half-crazed vocal cops channeled through the Hi-De-Ho Man by Scotty Morris is faithful to the core from the originals. Though the band does not do all of Calloway's big hits (missing are "Viper's Drag," "St. Louis Blues," and "Kickin' the Gong Around," among many others), their selection of tunes is a delightful mix of favorites and some zingers, all well done in the style that made Calloway both revered and in some circles reviled. His overly dramatic songs are avoided, and fun is the operative word for these tunes that still are good to hear. Among the true blue covers: the definitive shuffle "Calloway Boogie" with the animated vocals of Morris, the energetic and stoned "Reefer Man," the easy swinger "Hey Now" with the band's vocal choruses, and the Gene Krupa bompity bomp beat tacked onto "Tarzan of Harlem." There are two versions of the all-time classic "Minnie the Moocher," one laid-back featuring growl trumpet, the other in a quicker mode with rhythms rolling along. "The Jumpin' Jive" is pretty typical, a stomp-down rhythm identifies the title track, and a horse-drawn clippity clop beat steadies "The Old Man on the Mountain," with phrases inserted similar to "Comes Love." It's clear that the band has always enjoyed these tunes and this era of jazz, and now that they have a bit of success under their belts, their desire to do a tribute close to their hearts is fully realized. Perhaps their March 2009 showcase on Dancing with the Stars playing vintage throwback swing also prompted this excursion way back to the roots. Their first recording in five years, it would seem Big Bad Voodoo Daddy have career longevity in mind, and a tribute to Louis Jordan, Slim Gaillard, or a second volume of Calloway's tunes would also be in order for a future project. This recording comes easily recommended to their fans and early period jazz lovers. ~ Michael G. Nastos, Rovi

Biography

Formed: 1990 in Los Angeles, CA

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Like Squirrel Nut Zippers and the Cherry Poppin' Daddies, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy revived big-band music for the '90s and beyond. BBVD concentrated on the swinging days of the '40s and '50s, borrowing some of the Rat Pack lingo in addition to the zoot suits that cloaked each bandmate. Formed in Los Angeles in 1992, the group built up a following with regular gigs on the local lounge circuit, playing to Gen-Xers enamored with the kitschy charm of the cocktail nation. This burgeoning lounge scene was...
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Top Albums and Songs by Big Bad Voodoo Daddy

How Big Can You Get?: The Music of Cab Calloway, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy
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  • $9.99
  • Genres: Rock, Music
  • Released: Apr 21, 2009

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