By Joshua Herring
The team at KU Presents! has lined up a performing artist series featuring illustrious and talented artists from various cultural corners of the performing arts.
The 2014-2015 season opening event, on Sept. 17, will feature the electrifying swing jazz band called Big Bad Voodoo Daddy.
At 7:30 p.m. that Wednesday night, the band will take the stage with a style and sound never before hosted at the Schaefer auditorium: a cool jazz style flare and the notoriously relentless music of the swing jazz era. “With BBVD, you get the zoot suits, swinging cool music, and an overall experience – not just a concert,” says KU Presents! Director Robin Zaremski.
The contemporary jazz-rock band has recorded ten albums, sold over two million copies, and has been acclaimed all over the country for their dynamic revival of the original hipster culture. Zaremski says, “KU Presents! wanted to start the season with an energetic and fun artist and there was no better choice than BBVD. They are a true party band for those who like to dance and get in the mood of a unique era.”
Students may be unfamiliar to the beatnik music of the 1940’s, but according to Zaremski, the university has “an obligation to the students to make their experience more culturally enriching and enlightening.” In addition, she points out that, “From the recent remake of the Great Gatsby to the popularity of Speakeasies and vintage style clothing, I have seen students more than ever embrace the look and feel of this earlier time period.”
With songs like “You, Me, and the Bottle Makes Three” and “Digga Digga Do” led by vocalist Scottie Morris, Zaremski says, “A BBVD show is for any student who not only loves music, but who also loves an exhilarating experience.”
Before the performance, there will be a “Welcome Back” swing dance party hosted on the Schaeffer deck at 6 p.m. The KU Jazz Ensemble will be there to get your feet moving and swing dance lessons will be available at 6:15 p.m.
Then, at 6:30 p.m., ACE will be hosting a student-only swing dance competition. There will be three prizes. $75 will be awarded to the first couple, $50 for the second and $25 for the third. Tickets for the BBVD show will be provided for all of the participating and winning couples. Snacks will also be provided. All students are welcome and vintage attire is encouraged.
According to Zaremski, those who come to the pre-performance swing party might also see a sneak peak performance by the Reading Theatre Project and a surprise duet with BBVD lead singer Scottie Morris.
Other approaching shows this fall for the KU Presents! performing artist series include a George Gershwin tribute performed by the Reading Pops Orchestra and piano soloist Clipper Erickson on Oct. 6, the GRAMMY award winning banjo duo Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn on Oct. 28, and A Very Brass Christmas performed by Canadian Brass on Dec. 3. Details for all and future spring performances can be found on the KU Presents! website.