This month I am joined by one of the top bandleaders for swing dancers today, Jonathan Stout. Jonathan began dancing as a teenager in 1995, and started his first band, the Campus Five, in 2002. Since that inception, his bands have played regularly throughout his native Los Angeles, and he has grown into a giant of the swing world. He has released 3 albums with the Campus Five, and led bands at the National Jitterbug Championships at Camp Hollywood, the Frankie 95 festival, the International Lindy Hop Championships and repeat engagements at Lincoln Center’s Midsummer Night Swing.
In our conversation, we dissect what makes a good song for swing dancing, discuss whether DJs are a valuable asset to swing dancers, and his relentless pursuit of ‘the real deal’ - an obsession with the authentic and how that translates to his role as a swing dancer and bandleader.
We also talk about starting on guitar as a bedroom metalhead, discuss the differences between the Mount Rushmore of band leaders he paid tribute to at the last Lindy Focus: Basie, Shaw, Goodman & Ellington, and uncover what it took for him to get past the cliche and rediscover the joy in Benny Goodman’s "Sing, Sing, Sing."