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Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Benoit At The Carpenter Performing Arts Center

Published: December 1, 2015

Big Bad Voodoo Daddy and David Benoit will help celebrate the holiday season with December appearances at the Richard and Karen Carpenter Performing Arts Center.

Big Bad Voodoo Daddy will swing into the Carpenter Center to throw a “Wild and Swingin’ Holiday Party” on Saturday, Dec. 5, while on Saturday, Dec. 19, jazz pianist Benoit will play Guaraldi’s holiday songs of the Peanuts gang with Christmas standards and his own original music in “David Benoit’s Christmas Tribute to Charlie Brown.” Both performances begin at 8 p.m.

Big Bad Voodoo Daddy has sold millions of albums and performed at the Super Bowl and for three of the last four U.S. presidents. This high-octane nine-piece group will perform its big band swing music with a special holiday show that will also incorporate some of their greatest hit songs, like “Go Daddy-O” and “You & Me & the Bottle Makes 3 Tonight (Baby).” The band’s music enhances guitar, drums, upright bass and piano with wind instruments (trumpet, saxophone, clarinet and trombone).

Big Bad Voodoo Daddy turned heads in 1993 with a legendary residency at The Derby nightclub in Los Angeles, reminding the world—in the middle of the grunge era, no less—that it was cool to swing big band style. Since then they have appeared numerous times on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” “Late Night with Conan O’Brian” and “Live with Regis & Kelly,” and played themselves in the hit movie “Swingers.” Now their songs play alongside pop standards in film and television, and even on reality competitions like “Dancing with the Stars.”

The band has a long history of recording and performing holiday tunes; their second album was the self-released EP “Watchu’ Want for Christmas?” featuring songs like “Rock-a-Billy Christmas” and “Zat You Santa Claus.” In 2004, the band released “Everything You Want for Christmas,” which included “We Three Kings” and “Jingle Bells.” In 2013, the group’s third holiday-themed album “It Feels Like Christmas Time” included songs such as “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” and “Santa Claus is Coming to Town.”

The five-time Grammy-nominated Benoit returns for his third Carpenter Center performance with the All-American Boys Chorus of Costa Mesa. New to the show this year is jazz singer Jane Monheit, who played two sold-out Carpenter Center cabaret performances in October. Benoit, Monheit and the chorus recently recorded the holiday-themed album “Believe,” released in October.

David Benoit
David Benoit

Benoit is considered a founding father of contemporary jazz and has recorded 35 albums since his 1980 debut. He received a lifetime achievement award from the American Smooth Jazz Awards in 2010. He also hosts a morning jazz radio show on KKJZ 88.1-FM.

His relationship with the Peanuts franchise began with a miniseries in the late 1980s. Several talented jazz musicians were considered for the soundtrack, including Dave Brubeck and Wynton Marsalis, but television producer Lee Mendelson preferred Benoit’s take on the material, and the pianist went on to perform on soundtracks for several Peanuts animations, including “It’s Christmastime Again, Charlie Brown,” “Charlie Brown’s Christmas Tales,” and “I Want a Dog for Christmas, Charlie Brown.”

Earlier this year, Benoit performed the Peanuts theme song “Linus and Lucy” in “The Peanuts Movie,” now in theaters.

Benoit credits “A Charlie Brown Christmas” with inspiring him to become a jazz musician. His love of the original Guaraldi tunes, including the classic “Linus and Lucy,” led him down the path to eventually arranging and playing much of the music for the Peanuts cartoons.

“It was such a landmark thing back in the 1960s to use jazz in animation,” Benoit said. “I remember I was 10 years old when it came out. It was a lot of the reason I became a jazz pianist. It captured a spirit; it’s just genius.”

Single tickets for Big Bad Voodoo Daddy’s Wild & Swingin’ Holiday Party begin at $50 and $35 for Benoit’s performance. For tickets and more information, visit CarpenterArts.org or call the Carpenter Center Ticket Office at 562/985-7000.

–Shayne Schroeder