Big Bad Voodoo Daddy
As Big Bad Voodoo Daddy fans know, it's still cool to swing.
The Grammy-nominated band is celebrating its 20th year with a high-energy tour of its contemporary fusion of swing and jazz. The Los Angeles-based septet will be in concert at the Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts in Harrisburg Friday.
"It will be a fun show with songs from our whole entire career," said trumpeter Glen "The Kid" Marhevka. "It's a really fun show to see live -- the band is really energetic."
Marhevka said the group just finished an intense two-month tour to support its new release "It Feels Like Christmas Time." For the East Coast tour, the band will highlight its diverse songbook, including hits from 2012's "Rattle Them Bones."
Big Bad Voodoo Daddy has always focused on creating original music, although songs by other composers have been featured on each of the band's 10 albums, which include its eponymous debut in 1994 and platinum-selling "Americana Deluxe" in 1998. The band recorded one album of covers, "How Big Can You Get? The Music of Cab Calloway" in 2009. Marhevka called Calloway "our musical hero."
Big Bad Voodoo Daddy was co-founded by lead singer and guitarist Scotty Morris and drummer Kurt Sodergren in 1993, helping launch a swing revival. The band grew to include pianist and arranger Joshua Levy, Dirk Shumaker on acoustic bass and vocals, Karl Hunter on alto and tenor saxophones and clarinet, Andy Rowley on baritone sax and vocals, and Marhevka. They are joined on the road by trumpeter Anthony Bonsera Jr. and Alex Henderson on trombone.
The group's first big hit was its original "You & Me and the Bottle Makes Three Tonight," which along with "Go Daddy-O," was featured in the 1996 film "Swingers." The band's music has appeared in numerous films and television shows including "Despicable Me," "The Wild," "Malcolm in the Middle," "Family Guy" and "Phineas and Ferb," as well as for routines on "Dancing With the Stars" and "So You Think You Can Dance."
Marhevka said by listening to Big Bad Voodoo Daddy's early recordings and comparing them to more recent work, he can hear how much the group has developed.
"Over the years the band has grown a lot. Everybody in their own right has become a better performer," he said.
Big Bad Voodoo Daddy has built a career on relentless touring. And after nearly 3,000 concerts in 20 years, its music and performances offer more depth, Marhevka said.
"It'd be easy to coast, but we've never really done that. Everybody works hard at getting better," he said.
When the 20th year anniversary tour wraps up in the spring, Marhevka said the group will start getting together ideas for a new album and will continue to perform.
"Playing jazz music is what I love to do. I get to play in a band and play jazz music and swing music. So it's like a dream come true," he said.
If you go
What: Big Bad Voodoo Daddy
When: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 17
Where: Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts, 222 Market St., Harrisburg
Tickets: $25 to $40; purchase online at whitakercenter.org or by calling 717-214-ARTS