Cab Calloway: Are You Fly?

Gather around, kidlets, because I have a secret to share. Did you know we did not invent being hip? Seventy, eight, ninety years ago, people were hip. It’s true! Some were so hip then that they would still be hip now. One of the hippest of them all was singer/composer/bandleader Cabell “Cab” Calloway. Of course, in Cab’s day, it was often called being “hep”, which sounds much cooler.

I first knew Calloway as the debonair older gentleman in white tails who would show up occasionally on Sesame Street. Even though he was in his 70s by that time, his energetic spirit was still fully intact. And his charisma was such that, even at the age of five or six, I knew I was watching someone very special.

I know I’m not introducing some new or obscure talent here – most everyone reading this has probably heard Calloway’s biggest hit, “Minnie the Moocher”, more times than can be counted – but talents of the past can often seem boring, dated or amusingly innocent in the here-and-now. But Calloway wasn’t really playing it safe, though perhaps his use of jive slang made it seem so to squares. In “Minnie the Moocher” … Continue reading