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Swing into holidays with Big Bad Voodoo Daddy

Big Bad Voodoo Daddy will present an evening of holiday jazz and swing music Dec. 9, 2017, at Red Wing’s Sheldon Theatre. Submitted photo

You've seen them and heard them in movies and on television. Now you can enjoy Big Bad Voodoo Daddy in person.

The swing revival all-stars, who have appeared in concert venues around the world, will present their "Wild and Swingin' Holiday Party" at the Sheldon Theatre at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 9.

For nearly 25 years the band has been touring almost nonstop, averaging more than 150 shows a year in addition to making memorable appearances on shows ranging from "Despicable Me" to "Dancing with the Stars," and making live appearances seven times on "The Tonight Show" with Jay Leno, with several symphony orchestras, and at the Super Bowl XXXIII halftime show.

For the Red Wing appearance, the band will perform holiday classics in Big Bad Voodoo Daddy=style plus Christmas originals from their two full-length holiday albums.

"If you're going to go to a holiday show with your family, this is the one!" said Scotty Morris, singer and bandleader. "It really does offer something for everyone."

They did their first Christmas show of the season in Colorado recently, drummer Kurt Sodergren noted. "It really did jump-start everyone" for the holidays.

Featured numbers include "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town" and the Andrews Sisters' "Heat Miser," Chuck Berry's "Run, Run Rudolph" and Elvis Presley's "Blue Christmas," plus original tunes such as "Rockabilly Christmas" and the title track from one of their holiday albums, "It Feels Like Christmas Time."

In addition, Sodergren said, they'll likely offer a sampling of numbers from their new album, "Louie, Louie, Louie." Their 11th studio album, released in June, it is a salute to the music of Louis Armstrong, Louis Jordan and Louis Prima.

Those music of those three giants of American culture represents the evolution of swing, jazz and popular music from New Orleans jazz and ragtime to the birth of rhythm and blues and rock 'n' roll. The Louies had a profound impact on the music of Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Sodergren asid.

The band, which also has recorded a tribute to Cab Calloway, seeks to spark interest in swing and jazz.

"It's important to educate people," Morris said. "If artists don't continue to spread the word, this music is going to go away and that's something we can't afford to have happen."

Co-founded in Ventura, Calif., in the early 1990s by Morris and Sodergren, the group was at the forefront of a swing revival. According to their website, "they reminded the world, in the midst of the grunge era no less, that it was still cool to swing."

The band blends "a vibrant fusion of the classic American sounds of jazz, swing and Dixieland with the energy and spirit of contemporary culture," spokesmen added.

The original lineup remains at the core of Big Bad Voodoo Daddy: Morris, who also plays guitar, with Sodergren on drums, Dirk Shumaker on double bass and vocals, Glen "The Kid" Marhevka and Mitch Cooper on trumpets, Karl Hunter on saxophones and clarinet, and Joshua Levy on piano and arrangements.

Their mission also remains the same: to celebrate and revitalize jazz and swing music, specifically the swing of the 1940s and '50s.

More than simply paying tribute to the creators of swing and jazz, the band uses that inspiration to introduce the genre to a new generation "while remaining cognizant and respectful of the music's rich legacy," spokesmen said.

"Believe it or not," Sodergren said, "there are some people who haven't heard of Louis Jordan or Louis Prima." By performing their music with Big Bad Voodoo Daddy energy and spirit, "I believe we are connecting with young people" who go on to perform the music or simply enjoy it.

Having performed in countless venues of all sizes, Sodergren said he looks forward to the Sheldon Theatre's intimate space and the opportunity to meet Minnesotans.

"We'll be ready," he said. "We'll bring warm clothes."

Following the concert band members will be in the lobby to autograph merchandise, which will be available to purchase.

Tickets to the Dec. 9 concert are $38 to $48, or $20 for students. For information or reservations, call 651-388-8700 or go online to www.sheldontheatre.org.

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