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Since their arrival on the music scene in 1993 in a legendary residency at Los Angeles' Brown Derby nightclub, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy's irresistible live show and aggressive, musically perceptive approach has proven them over time to be the singular standout among the numerous bands that launched the Nineties swing revival. The seven-man group forged a massively successful fusion of classic American sounds from jazz, swing, Dixieland and big-band music, building their own songbook of original dance tunes, and, sixteen years later, BBVD is a veteran force that to this day adds new fans by the roomful every time they play.
BBVD's originals rocketed the group into its first phase of stardom, when "You & Me and the Bottle Makes Three (Tonight)" and "Go Daddy-O" were featured in the 1996 indie film landmark Swingers. Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, named famously after an autograph by blues legend Albert Collins, sold more than two million copies of the albums Americana Deluxe and This Beautiful Life, and received national critical acclaim while the band's music has appeared in over sixty movies and television shows. With their 2003 New Orleans-inspired album Save My Soul, BBVD began playing in theaters and performing arts centers, selling out shows at the Hollywood Bowl, Walt Disney Hall, Lincoln Center, Chastain Park and Constitution Hall, just to name a few. They have appeared as special guests with the great symphony and pops orchestras of the nation, including their first symphony show with the US Air Force Orchestra. The band's career milestones have included appearances in the Super Bowl half-time show, writing theme music for ESPN and network television, and performing for three American presidents. They have appeared numerous times on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Late Night with Conan O'Brian and Live with Regis & Kelly, and wrote, performed and recorded the current theme song for the Carson Daly show after appearing multiple times as the show's house band.
And now, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy's songs have passed into the classic American songbook, playing alongside pop standard songs in film and television, and even on reality competitions like Dancing With the Stars. Key to the depth of the new album is Calloway's unparalleled gift for vivid storytelling, as well as his pointed social commentary. "We all noticed that the lyric of ‘How Big Can You Get' is unbelievably poignant to our time," says Morris. "In ‘The Ghost of Smokey Joe,' we were excited going in to cut a trilogy of three big songs from Cab's early days, making the stories cohesive." Scotty points out: "Cab's early songs from Cotton Club era have a more vaudeville/cabaret feel, and storytelling is crucial in those songs. After Cab became a huge phenomenon, he had his own language, and he's vamping on his image and lifestyle in songs from the 1940s like ‘Calloway Boogie,' ‘The Jumpin' Jive' and ‘Hey Now, Hey Now.' Having feasted on his music in the studio, and headed out to the road to perform Calloway's music, "I'm even more in awe of him now," agrees Marhevka. "I want people to come from hearing our album, and find out who Cab was. You can see videos of him so easily on the Internet. He was larger than life - the blueprint of a superstar."
The many breakthrough qualities of How Big Can You Get have now brought the band's horizon into exceptionally clear focus -- both on a musical and a group level. "We just turned sixteen this month. I couldn't be more proud that this is the album we've made at this moment," says Morris. "I did think it would last this long," reflects trumpeter Marhevka, who joined BBVD over fourteen years ago, when the band was 1 _ years old and still a trio. "I had played in many groups, and stopped doing everything else - I put 100% in, and never looked back. People ask: ‘Are you gonna be here in five years?', and I say: Yeah! Every guy in the band has that feeling about it. The greatest moment is being here right now, doing this. The goals are always the same: getting better at what we do individually, and moving forward in the same direction. We're still playing, and have something to say."
How big can you get? From the proof on record and on stage, there's just no telling with Big Bad Voodoo Daddy how big the next level will be.