Toronto Jazz Festival – Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, June 24th, 2008

Big Bad Voodoo Daddy

TorontoBig Bad Voodoo Daddy was formed in 1989 by singer/guitarist Scotty Morris. It started as a three-piece, but quickly grew into its current big band lineup. They were at the forefront of the swing-craze of the mid-90’s, and were popularized by their appearance in the movie Swingers with songs like “You and me and the bottle makes 3 tonight (baby)” and “Go daddy-o”. You’d recognized them if you heard ‘em.

They appeared at the Nathan Phillips Square main stage, and the result was a high-energy show. People who were in their late-teens and early twenties during the 90’s swing-craze were dusting off those swing dance-moves that they paid good money for and thought they’d never get to use. The band was tight, and provided all the ingredients for a good time. They all wore cool cat jazz suits, and the brass played in front of 30’s style jazz stands. Classy.

The music was good. It wasn’t inspiring, but it was solid, tight, and full of energy. Big Bad Voodoo Daddy is still at it, cranking out the big band and doing what they do best: saluting and re-creating the old-school dance jazz that was so popular in the 30’s and 40’s. There were two highlights for me. The first was Scotty giving the crowd a history lesson about the Cotton Club, a famous prohibition-era NYC jazz club, with a salute to the late great Cab Calloway. The second was the bassist Dirk Schumaker. He looked like he was having so much fun spinning that stand-up bass of his and playing music that he loves. I was thoroughly envious of the man’s joie de vivre.

If I could have bottled some of it, I’d be set for life. 4/5.

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Posted on by Mark in Concerts, Toronto Jazz Festival

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