Spreadin' Rhythm Around (2017)

CDs and digital downloads available at campusfive.bandcamp.com. Digital downloads available at www.cdbaby.com (coming soon to iTunes).

On June 20, 2017, Jonathan Stout and his Campus Five featuring Hilary Alexander release their fourth album: “Spreadin’ Rhythm Around” available on CD and digital download from Bandcamp.

From the liner noters:

“My entire artistic life has been a chase to be the ‘real thing.’” 

I spoke with Jonathan Stout for more than two hours on my podcast, but really, that single sentence pretty much sums him up. 

You see, Jonathan is a perfectionist. Perhaps to a fault. He is compelled to be capital-A Authentic in everything he does. Of course, this has worked out quite nicely for the thousands of swing dancers Jonathan, Hilary and the Campus Five have played for over the years. Around the world, we have swung out to Authentic swing music wherever they have performed. 

Sometimes, however, perfectionism gets in the way. It’s been 10 years since the last Campus Five album. Ten years since dancers have gotten to take home a fresh collection of Authentic swing tunes. All because recording session after recording session didn’t meet the high standards of a particular bandleader. 

Other times, perfectionism pays off. This album is culled from three different recording sessions, each producing a number of choice tracks. These are the highlights. Usually folks are lucky to get one or two standouts on an album, but each track on “Spreadin’ Rhythm Around” is a gem. 

On the founding of the Campus Five, Jonathan said of Hilary and himself, “We’re dancers first. We’re not jazz preservationists.” Luckily for us, that’s never been more apparent. All of the musicians on this record are Authentic, but none are mere facsimile. Of course the influences are there – echoes of Charlie Christian, Illinois Jacquet, and Gene Krupa are all over this record – but they manage to be loyal to the Swing Era while making the sound completely their own and the music as modern as it’s ever been. 

What you hold in your hands is the best of the best, from the best of the best. Enjoy the “real thing.” 

- Ryan Swift, Swing DJ & host of The Track Podcast