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!


 

Saturday
Oct112014

October 2014 Round Up - 3 gigs coming up

10/10 - Campus Five at the Lindy Loft

After coming back from New Orleans last week, we returned to one of our favorite venues to play in Los Angeles: The Lindy Loft in Downtown LA, hosted by Dax and Sarah. After being on the road so much, (Knoxvile, New Orleans, etc. - and having a BLAST, mind you), it was so nice to come back home and play a gig with our full regular line up: Hilary, Albert, Jim, Chris, Wally and Josh! The intimate space of the Lindy Loft made for a really great feeling gig. We were also joined up by a special guest: Mr. Michael Petterson, the man behind FreddieGreen.org - the definitive site on the web about Freddie Green and Swing-style Rhythm Guitar (a huge influence on Jonathan, to be sure). Plus we got Josh out on the dance floor for a birthday dance!

Here are some great photos of the night taken by Jennifer Stockert:

 

Up coming gigs:

10/22 - Campus Five at Rusty's Rhythm Club

We'll be returning to Playa Del Rey for a gig at Rusty's Rhythm Club! Since it's a week night we start early at 8:30pm, and we're done by 11:00pm, so don't be a square and miss the whole first set by showing up late! 

10/25 - Campus Five at the San Diego Lindy Haunt

We'll also be returning to San Diego for Dan and Svea's San Diego Lindy Haunt. Get in the Halloween spirit and get dressed up!

10/25 - The Jonathan Stout Orchestra at The Set Shop Annual Halloween Party

Finally, this month, the FULL Jonathan Stout Orchestra will be returning to Will Lidderdale's Annual Halloween Party at The Set Shop (a really, motion-picture set building workshop in Downtown Los Angeles.) This is always one of our most fun gigs every year, and your last chance to set the full Orchestra at home in Los Angeles until NEXT YEAR. Don't miss out on that!

ALL OF THE DETAILS for all these gigs are on the CALENDAR PAGE

Saturday
Oct112014

Geetings from Momma Nola: ULHS Wrap Up

New Orleans is home to some of the best traditional jazz musicians in the country, so it was a particular honor for us to be asked to come out to the Ultimate Lindy Hop Showdown. We had the pleasure of working with Ben Polcer, Aurora Nealand, Jason Jurzak and Charlie Holloran at events like Lindy Focus and ILHC, and to have them be part of of the Jonathan Stout Orchestra, along with several other killer local musicians was transcendent. The cherry on the top of the trip was playing outside with the Campus Five at the French Market, where the weather, sound, vibe, playing, personnel and all other factors just worked out for the perfect gig.  

Photo by Reuben Brown

We played for three contests, including the battle, the intergenerational, and the slow dance. We've never played anything at dance as slow as needed for the slow dance dance division, but I think we came through with something that really worked for the dancers. We were instructed not to confuse "Slow Dance" with "Blues" and that we didn't need to play a blues form song necessarily. On the second song, for variety's sake, the judges asked for something slightly "chunkier", so we jammed out Sidney Bechet's "Egyptian Fantasy." That's not a tune that most big bands in most cities in America can just fake, but in New Orleans, that's mother's milk. Aurora, especially killed on that one. 

For the Battle contest, we jammed Count Basie's "The King", for Alain Fragman and Gina Helfrich, and Christian Frommelt and Jenny Shirar, duke it out. We kept the soloists changing to keep up the variety - and all four finalists really threw down. 

The interaction between the musicians and dancers on the event is at such a high level, and thus it feels very intimate, even at the largest venues of the event. It was a real pleasure to be a part of it, and we hope to come visit again soon. Here's the jam(s) that ended the night:

Monday
Sep152014

Monday 9/22 - The Grand Slam Sextet Returns to Joe's

Photo by Jennifer StockertThe Grand Slam Sextet returns to Joe's Great American Bar and Grill in Burbank MONDAY 9/22. Ever since our debut at the California Balboa Classic people have been clamoring to hear more from The Grand Slam Sextet and haven't been able to get enough of the iconic sound of Clarinet combined with Vibraphone and Electric Guitar, as made famous by the Benny Goodman Sextet. 

We've got all our regulars ready to go, with Phil Krawzak on clarinet, Craig Fundyga on vibraphone, Chris Dawson on piano, Wally Hersom on bass, Josh Collazo on drums, and Jonathan Stout on electric guitar. 

MON. Sep.22
The Grand Slam Sextet
Joe's Great American Bar and Grill 
4311 W Magnolia Blvd. - Burbank 
Band starts at 9:00pm sharp, and plays until midnight.
As always, 21 and over, but FREE (donations to the bucket of love always appreciated)
Check Happy Feet Mondays' Facebook page  

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