Cab Calloway has in recent years seen a revival of interest. “Who is Cab Calloway?”- you may be asking if this trend has passed you by.Well in his era, the 1930’s and 40’s, he was a famous American Jazz dancer, singer and bandleader.His most famous song “Minnie the Moocher” is one of the tunes that he is now most remembered for now, and he was known from this as the “Hi-de-ho” man.
In the last few years a resurgence in popularity of a musical film of his version of St. James Infirmary rotoscoped over his dancing for the spooky Betty Boop film “The Old Man of the Mountain”. You can see how they made it here.So why has interest in Cab Calloway spiked some 80-plus years later?
Well, simply put, because he is incredible. As a singer, and dancer he has a level of showmanship which is rare to see in performers today, and seeing him as a bandleader to boot is impressive beyond measure.
One amazing video that you just have to see to believe also showcases the even greater dancing talents of the Nicholas Brothers. Fayard and Harold were a pair of “flashdancers”, an acrobatic style of dance, as well as spectacular jazz tap dancers.
There’s a sequence with the stairs that will blow you away!
The clip begins with Cab leading the big band, and wow are they incredible.
Cab’s voice is amazing (he was the first African American singer to sell over a million copies of a single song).
He is a showman in the truest sense of the word, and a performer for the ages.
And when he begins scatting, your mouth is sure to hit the floor and your toes shall tap. But don’t worry about your toes so much as the Nicholas Brother’s tappin’ toes!
As they figuratively jump into a scat with Cab, they literally jump onto someone’s table to begin one of the most amazing dance routines of all time!
The Nicholas Brothers leap from table to table, tapping and dancing up an impossible storm!
Leaping among the band members seated around the tables, they display an unprecedented level of skill and talent, which arguably (and some have argued) has never since been seen. It has been said to have achieved on the first take.
Of course, the most remarkable thing about what these dancing brothers can do, is their acrobatic splits.
Seemingly defying gravity, they leap many feet through the air, performing splits down giant staircases. As a spectator, one watches this incredible feat with a sense of incredulity. Are they really doing that?
In fact, Gregory Hines was quoted as saying that nobody would ever be able to dance like them again!
“If those folks in Hollywood ever do get it in their heads to make the life story of the Nicholas Brothers, the dance numbers would have to be computer-generated…It would be impossible to find two dancer/actors to play the two starring roles…There never was a dancer, tap or otherwise, who, upon seeing those ‘Nicholas Splits,’ didn’t question his or her very own eyes. Could it be? Did they really go down and come right back up sans hands?”- Gregory Hines