In Progress

Welcome to the home of Los Angeles' finest in Swing: The Campus Five, The Jonathan Stout Orchestra, and the rest of our bands. 

Check below for our latest news and updates!

photo credit: Mytch Parks

Monday
Jul212014

Just In: Special FRIDAY C5 Show at the Cicada Club August 8th

This just in, the Campus Five will be playing a special FRIDAY NIGHT show at Downtown LA's Art Deco Mecca, the Cicada Club. Presale tickets are available online for just $15, and tickets at the door are $20. If you'd like to reserve a table, there is a Pre Fixe menu available which includes admission, and let's you keep the table all night. We've got all our all-stars, including Josh Collazo, Albert Alva and Jim Ziegler, so expect to be dancing to every tune all night!

Also, this is the Campus Five's ONLY local show in August. We'll be busy at ILHC, and the largers bands will be playing at Camp Hollywood, but if you want to see the Campus Five in Los Angeles in August, this is your only opportunity. 
Fri. Aug 8 - THE CAMPUS FIVE
Special FRIDAY Cicada Club Show

The Cicada Club - 617 S Olive St - Downtown LA
Band starts at 9:00pm - Tickets $20 at the Door
PRESALE $15 tickets available HERE.
TABLE RESERVATIONS/ PREFIX MENU DEAL available HERE
Details at www.cicadaclub.com.
Monday
Jun162014

BOTBB2, Satin Ballroom and the Birth of the Jonathan Stout Orchestra

If you know the story behind the birth of the Jonathan Stout Orchestra, It's fitting that the Battle of the Bands 2 has the band returning to the Veteran's Memorial Auditorium in Culver City.  

When we debuted the Campus Five in Summer 2002, our humble goal was just to be a band that Hilary and I would actually want to dance to. We knew that tempo and song length were crucial to making a band that didn't frustrate dancers. But we also knew that we dancers could feel when a band didn't have a real 30's-40's swing feel, and how that was what separated the "real thing" from everything else. 

After the first six months of the band evolving, we recorded our first album "Jammin' the Blues", and it reflected how the band has coalesced around what would be "our sound." The Lindy Hop and Balboa communities responded favorably, and it wasn't long before we were traveling outside of Los Angeles to play for Lindy Hop and Balboa events, and eventually began headlining the major Lindy hop and Balboa events in the country.

About a year after starting the band we had been asked to play a small band battle at the Satin Ballroom, which had been Los Angeles' largest monthly swing dance event. It was a huge achievement to be asked to play Satin Ballroom, and it was one of first huge "gets." The event went perfectly, and the promoters were especially impressed that even with the sometimes confrontational battle format, I made sure that danceability was very high. 

A couple months later, the Satin Ballroom found out the hall was raising the rent to an impossible level, and that there was no way to continue the event in it's current form, if at all. The promoters approached me asked me to create a big band to headline the final Satin Ballroom. Specifically because of my dedication to the true rhythmic feel of the swing era, my organizational skill displayed during the battle, and because of my absolute determination to maintain danceability, the promoters knew I could create a big band worthy of sending off Los Angeles' biggest swing venue. 

Jim Ziegler, Hilary Alexander and Jonathan debuting the JSO at Satin Ballroom, Nov. 2003

It took 6 weeks to put the charts together, and the songs were all tunes that could be staples of Lindy Hop and Balboa playlists, such as our theme song, Artie Shaw's "Man from Mars", which had only recently become a Balboa favorite in Los Angeles. Songs were carefully chosen to maintain danceable tempos all night, but, just as with the Campus Five, we also avoided the stale, square tunes that most bands defaulted to, and we swing dancers were all sick of. It had to be a band that was undeniably danceable, but also one the jazz heads would dig. Because of these considerations, this was (as far as I know), the first big band created in the modern. post-gap add swing revival that was by lindy hop and balboa dancers, specifically for linty hop and balboa dancers. All Lindy Hop and Balboa Songs. No Latin. No Novelity. No Ballads. No Jam Killing. 

JSO at Lindy Focus - photo by J.S. Almonte

That first gig in November 2003 was a huge success, and the promoters said that the band was even better than they could've dreamed. Since then, we honed the band even further and expanded the repertoire. Over the last 11 years, the band has headlong many of the most important Lindy Hop events in America, Camp Hollywood, ILHC, AllBal Weekend, Lindy Focus, and Lincoln Center's Midsummer Night Swing (twice). But for me, the greatest compliment we could ever get, was to be pulled aside during a band break, and have Hal and Marge Takier tell me the JSO was their favorite band. 

So, it's sort of a home coming to return to the Veteran's Memorial Auditorium in Culver City, where Satin Ballroom had been held. 11 years later, I'm looking forward to packing the floor with dancers, song after song, and tearing the roof of the place.

Our boots are laced, our knives sharpened, and we're ready to go. Let's do this. 

BATTLE OF THE BIG BANDS 2
Veteran’s Memorial Auditorium 
(formerly The Satin Ballroom)
4117 Overland Avenue
Culver City, Los Angeles, CA 90230
Doors at 7pm / Bands Begin at 8pm
Register: HERE / Facebook event: HERE 
Monday
Jun092014

Just Added: Battle of the Big Bands 2 - the Jonathan Stout Orchestra vs. George Gee

While in Rochester for Stompology IX (and while sleeping in after playing the main dance, going to late night until 3:30am, and then making a 4:30am airport run before crashing), I got a text message: George Gee needed my help. Bill Elliot was unable to do the Battle of the Big Bands 2 concert George had planned for July 5th, and George needed me to bring my orchestra to make the event happen. 

Once the daze wore off, I jumped into action. I didn't know if I could field a band packed with my All-Star musicians on such short notice. I made some calls, and I knew when I lined up Josh Collazo, Albert Alva, Jim Ziegler, and the rest of the crew, it was ON. 

So, I'll save the boasting and trash talk for later, but let it be known the guantlet has been thrown:
Battle of the Big Bands 2: the Jonathan Stout Orchestra vs. George Gee.

BATTLE OF THE BIG BANDS 2
Veteran’s Memorial Complex 
(formerly The Satin Ballroom)
4117 Overland Avenue
Culver City, Los Angeles, CA 90230
Doors at 7pm / Bands Begin at 8pm
Register: HERE / Facebook event: HERE 

 

Sunday
Jun082014

Thanks, Stompology IX

Photo by Kenny Nelson

Thanks so much Rochester for a great time at #stompo9. It was a pleasure to play for you. 

East Coast, we'll see you next at the end of the month for Beantown!

 

Sunday
Jun012014

New Gigs: June 2014

We're excited to tell you about our shows coming up this month:

First off, we'll be starting the month playing Rochester, NY for Stompology IX. This will be the Campus Five's first time playing in Rochester, and we're looking forward to it. Checkout www.stompology.com for more info. 

Next, on Friday June 13, the Campus Five be playing the Lindy Loft's Friday Night Dance: Vintage Rhythm. The Lindy Loft is one of Los Angeles' most intimate swing venues, and it's sure to be fun time. We've got all of our regulars, supplimented by bassist Seth Ford-Young (on loan from Edward Sharpe). Hilary is back from materity leave and she's ready to swing it! Check www.lindyloft.com for more info, or check out the Facebook event page HERE

Photo by Jennifer Stockert

Then the Grand Slam Sextet will be returning to Happy Feet Monday's at Joe's on June 16. The Grand Slam Sextet has been hit since debuting at this year's California Balboa Classic. We've got Craig Fundyga on vibraphone, and Phil Krawzak on Clarinet, along with Josh Collazo, Chris Dawson and Marquis Howell. Don't miss the magic sound of the Benny Goodman Sextet with it's distinctive combination of Clarinet, Vibraphone and Electric Guitar. Check www.danceatjoes.com for more info, or check the Facebook event page HERE

Then our biggest gig this month is the Lindy Groove 13th Anniversary Party. Lindy Groove, Los Angeles' largest weekly swing event, is celebrating it's lucky 13th Anniversary. The Campus Five will be playing, so don't miss out at your chance to dance to the band one of LA's biggest and best dance floors, and Lindy Groove's always excellent sound. We've got our regulars (Albert, Jim, Chris and Josh), along with one of our favorite subs on bass, Marquis Howell. Help celebrate one the most important parts of Los Angeles' swing dance scene, and show your support for all Lance, Vicki, and crew do for Los Angeles. More info to be announced soon, but check out www.lindygroove.com for more info, as well as the Facebook event page HERE

Photo by Suzanne O'KeefeFinally, our smallest and most guitar-centric band, the Close Shave Quartet, will be coming back to the Moonrise Club, tucked away in Silver Lake's El Cid Restaurant. The Moonrise Club is real vintage experience hidden in plain sight on Sunset Blvd., and it's a great sounding and feeling room. Delicious small plates and drink specials round out the fun. We've got Craig Fundyga on vibes, along with Seth Ford-Young on bass, and Josh Collazo on drums. Check out more info HERE on the Moonrise Club's Facebook page.  

Each gig promises a totally different experience, from intimate to expansive, so we hope to see you out at all of our gigs this month!