Big Bad Voodoo Daddy
BIG BAD VOODOO DADDY’s eighth studio album, HOW BIG CAN YOU GET? A Tribute to Cab Calloway, captures the essence of an American icon in a rowdy celebration of musicianship, mischief, genius, street smarts, and fun. It’s also possibly the timeliest and most welcome album of the year -- bringing a much-needed high-voltage jolt of winning, feel-good energy to a country slogging through tough times that may be getting tougher…exactly the way that Calloway’s music did in the Depression-era America of his own youth.
Longtime fans of “America’s favorite little big band” will immediately recognize the album as a milestone in Big Bad Voodoo Daddy’s multi platinum-selling sixteen-year career. “Making the album was one of our biggest musical moments,” says lead vocalist, guitarist and songwriter Scotty Morris, who co-founded Big Bad Voodoo Daddy (BBVD) with drummer Kurt Sodergren in southern California. “Delving into Cab’s songs made us all realize how relevant they were to our time, and working on someone else’s music inside out caused a growth and depth in my work as a songwriter, arranger, and producer.” How Big Can You Get is not only an illuminating revival of Cab Calloway’s songbook: the making of the album was also the revelation of a lifetime for the band as a whole, whose ensemble playing, arranging and interpretive powers were honed to an all-time high by the excellence of Calloway's songs. Trumpeter Glen “The Kid” Marhevka recalls being captivated by Calloway onstage as a seventh-grader: “I was 11 years old, and I was blown away; he had so much energy and so many great musicians. This album concept seemed a perfect fit for us, because of Cab’s visuals, performances and intense energy. As soon as we rehearsed and played these songs live, it was musically challenging and refreshing to all of us.”
Recorded in Los Angeles’ legendary Capitol Studios, located at the famous record-shaped building at Hollywood and Vine, How Big Can You Get came out of the rooms where innumerable classics had been recorded by Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Nelson Riddle, Billy May, and many others. Using Capitol’s vintage microphones and studio equipment, “we achieved a real marriage of his music and our arrangements and the group’s voice,” says Morris. The vibed-up excitement is unmistakable throughout the album: “We played songs top-to-bottom live, and chose the best takes for the album, because so many of Cab's definitive performances are live in films and radio broadcasts. This is the best and most ferocious we’ve ever sounded.” With the band’s stated mission to broaden the image of Cab Calloway beyond his signature tune, “Minnie the Moocher” (a BBVD live staple from the beginning), Calloway’s frequently hilarious -- and just as often socially aware -- material held its own keys to completing the album in a way that did justice to him. “‘How Big Can You Get’ was the first song we cut with the big band in Capitol’s Studio A,” says Morris. “Hearing the playback, we immediately felt that this was what the band was always meant to sound like.” He adds: “‘Call of the Jitterbug’ seems like a fun little tune to put up, but then you get into it and see how complex, intricate and stylized … Read More