Five members of the jazz and swing band Big Bad Voodoo Daddy woke up earlier than normal Tuesday morning to give musical advice to about 250 Glendale Unified students and share short stories about their backgrounds.PHOTOS: Big Bad Voodoo Daddy teaches music to local students
By 10 a.m., the horn section of the nine-member band — the members who play the saxophone, trumpet and trombone — had taken to the stage at Glendale High, where trumpet player Glen Marhevka said the group would need to play a couple songs to warm up.
“Most jazz musicians are sleeping until 1 or 2 [p.m.],” he told the students. “That’s when we wake up.”
Big Bad Voodoo Daddy began as a band about 20 years ago, playing jazz and swing up and down the West Coast in clubs, weddings and backyard parties, when the majority of bands at the time were focused on grunge or rock.
Marhevka, one of two bandmates who live in Glendale, said the band got its big break when they took up Jon Favreau’s offer to perform in the movie “Swingers.”
Following the film’s premier, band members were recognized everywhere they went, he said.
Today, the band travels about 200 days out of the year and can perform anywhere from 125 to 150 concerts around the world annually.
The band also played two versions of “We Three Kings.” The first time through the song, they performed in sync, telling the students how closely they listen to each other’s sounds so they play at the same tempo.
The second time around, they performed unevenly and asked the students to pick out the musician who was out of tune with the rest. It was Karl Hunter, who plays the tenor saxophone.
“Essentially, all horns are just one voice,” Hunter said.
Among the music students in attendance from Glendale and Hoover high schools as well as Toll, Wilson and Roosevelt middle schools, was Jonathan Sandoval, a 14-year-old eighth-grader at Wilson.
Jonathan has played the tuba the past four years and performs classical and pop songs with fellow students at festivals and at school.
This Saturday, he’ll perform Benny Goodman songs at the Alex Theatre in a free afternoon concert with fellow students before Big Bad Voodoo Daddy takes the stage at 7:15 p.m. for a fundraiser concert to support the arts and music in Glendale schools.
“I like their music,” Jonathan said of Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. “I liked how they expressed different styles in jazz.”
Follow Kelly Corrigan on Twitter: @kellymcorrigan.
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