by Roger Zotti
Big Bad Voodoo Daddy
My love affair with Big Bad Voodoo Daddy (BBVD), the nation’s best swing-big band, began in the summer of 2001 – and it’s still going strong. It wasn’t a surprise when the band’s Mohegan Sun Casino Wolf Den concert (July 28) was a tribute to its biggest influence, the great Cab Calloway.
In addition to paying homage to Cab with songs from their tribute CD, due for February release, BBVD played several of its familiar hits: “Save My Soul,” the infectious “Zig Zaggity Woop Woop” (what a title!), “Simple Songs,” and a cover of Cab’s “Minnie the Moocher.” And let’s not forget the song Scotty Morris, the band’s founder, wrote about Cab, “Mr. Pinstripe Suit,” clearly one of the evening’s highlights.
Notes: Before the band performed “You & Me and the Bottle Makes Three Tonight,” Scotty noted it was “the tune that began it for us nineteen years ago”…Members of BBVD are Alex “Crazy Legs” Henderson (trombone), Tony Bonsera (trumpet), Kurt Sodergren (drums), Karl Hunter (sax and clarinet), Dirk Shumaker (strong bass), Andy Rowley (sax), Glen “the Kid” Marhevka (trumpet), and Scotty (guitar and vocals and walking stick) …BBVD hails from CA and began in 1989… In a review of a recent BBVD concert, Jaan Uhelzski described the band as having “more gusto than ever [and] infusing their old school jive with a New Orleans sensibility and panache.” Perfect!
Two Thrilling CT Wins
A total team effort! And those rookies – especially those rookies: Amber Holt (19 points), Kerri Gardin (14 points), and Sandrine Gruda (7 points).
An 87-68 victory over the Detroit Shock, the CT Sun’s arch rival, to the delight of 7,501 fans at Mohegan Sun Arena. The June 24 win ended for the Sun a nine game losing streak against the Shock.
“…Amber and Kerri stepped up,” said Sun Head Coach Mike Thibault. “Perseverance is starting to pay off for some of these kids because every day the two of them have stayed with Coach Maddox working on their jump shot and …their range.”
An away loss to Detroit, on June 26, and then a return home and a thrilling OT victory over the Atlanta Dream, three days later. Maybe the season’s most entertaining battle. The expansion Dream didn’t play like a team that didn’t win a game all season. Player of the Game was Atlanta’s Betty Lennox who scored 44 points. Of course, there was stellar work by the Sun’s Asjha Jones (30 points), Tamika Whitmore (28), and Lindsay Whalen (20).
The June 29 tussle against the Phoenix Mercury wasn’t a game the Sun deserved to win – and they didn’t. Phoenix was the better team that afternoon, winning 87-80. “Basically you are not going to win when you shoot 35% from the floor and 21% from the three point line,” said Mike. “[Diana] Taurasi made some good shots in the first half. Tangela Smith made big shots in the third quarter.”
Speaking of the hugely talented Diana, she made her presence felt on the scoreboard (25 points) and physically (oh those forearms). Verbally, too: she was given a technical foul in the final quarter for uttering something unprintable to either referee Scott Twardowski, Sun point guard Jamie Carey, or Sun guard Barbara Turner. Diana’s response? She blew a kiss to the partisan CT crowd. Got to love her!
July 1: In a home game almost as exciting as the battle of Atlanta, the Sun trailed the Houston Comets at halftime, 38-30. But they roared back, despite technicals to Lindsay Whalen, Tamika Whitmore, and Asjha Jones, to defeat the Comets, 78-68, before close to 7,000 fans.
Of the technicals, Mike said, “The officials…have to learn to walk away too.” According to fan favorite Barbara Turner, the technicals “lit a fire under us.” Sun rookie Sandrine Gruda continued to impress, scoring a season-high 14 points.
How quickly things change, though… As of July 9, the Sun dropped four of its six last games and were 13-7. So, to the faithful I say, have faith – because this is a talented, entertaining team that gives its all.