Swing In The Holidays

P. D. Kelley

What a show Grants Pass was treated to this past Friday, December 15th!  Big Bad Voodoo Daddy and his exceptional band mates were in the house and gave us a razzle dazzle holiday show in the styles of neo-swing, jump, jive, up tempo blues and jazz with flavorings of lounge and fifties rock.  Band leader and lead vocalist Scotty Morris looked snappy in his retro suit and fedora hat.  He’s got the perfect voice for this kind of music, mellow but energetic and oh so cool.  He plays a mean guitar and banjo as well.  This band has been together for a few decades and Morris co-founded the group with drummer Kurt Sodergren.  Swing music takes a versatile percussive style and Sodergren has it down.  Dirk Shumaker on the upright bass was having some fun plucking most excellently, singing in a rich baritone, delivering a mean rendition of Mister Grinch and every now and then spinning that big fiddle round and round.  Joshua Levy was another cool cat on the piano and he also does some musical arrangements for the band.  The standout sound, at least for swing, is the horn section and, oh man, we had some brass.  Andy “The Big Man” Rowley was just about flawless on the baritone saxophone and Karl Hunter on the saxophone and clarinet was also outstanding.  Lead trumpet Mitchell Cooper, Alex “Crazy Legs” Henderson on the trombone and Glen “The Kid” Marhevka on trumpet added to the mix and made everything come alive.  These guys are all gifted showmen so we had the horns lifted to the sky at times, with some “say hey” hand gestures and it was all so much fun.  Everybody got to solo, especially Rowley on the bari sax and the whole section gave a sweet rendition of “We Three Kings”, the only non-secular number in the show.  This group is tight, professional, stylish and just way cool.  What a great way to swing in the holidays.

Catch you on the flip side…