It takes equal doses of sass and nerve to tackle the music of Cab Calloway. When it came to jump swing innovation and tireless jazz exuberance, no one matched the drive of "The Hi De Ho Man" during the heyday of The Cotton Club. But Big Bad Voodoo Daddy is at least out to serve up genre-busting jazz and soul, offering its take on the classic Calloway sound.
Thursday night, the veteran West Coast band that revitalized swing-era music, fads and fashion for pop audiences during the '90s teams with the Lexington Philharmonic Orchestra for a brassy salute to Calloway's music at the Singletary Center for the Arts.
The catalyst for this nostalgic swing escapade is Big Bad Voodoo Daddy's 2009 Calloway tribute album, How Big Can You Get? Scotty Morris, the band's guitarist and vocalist wisely avoids the kinds of vocal extremes the great Calloway summoned with ease. But listen to his takes on Tarzan of Harlem, The Call of the Jitterbug and the Calloway signature tune Minnie the Moocher and you hear a voice that captures impressive shades of the swing king's boundless animation.