One of the best line up of swing dance musicians of our generation will be playing at the DC Lindy Exchange this year.
I tried thinking of different ways of writing this up without being as hyperbolic, but this is about as plain as I can make it.
The best big bands from the west coast, that have headlined the biggest Lindy Hop events in the country, will be playing here on the east coast. Together. On the same stage. DCLX. I’m talking about Jonathan Stout’s Orchestra and Crytzer’s Blue Rhythm Band. You read that right. DCLX is bringing in TWO full big bands from the other side of the freaking country.
The likelihood of this happening again anytime soon is probably never.
The Jonathan Stout Orchestra at Camp Hollywood 2010 – Pro Strictly Lindy – Finals
Crytzer’s Blue Rhythm Band at Camp Jitterbug 2010 Lindy Hop Couples Finals
Seriously, no has their stuff together to do this on the west coast, and it’s going to happen in Washington-effn’-DC. All of this is part of DCLX’s huge 10th anniversary. Not satisfied with putting on a usually great event, they’re pulling out all the stops this year.
If those bands weren’t enough . . . . . . one of the late nights will feature the Gordon Webster Septet. Not his small combo. Gordon’s full band. One of the most popular dance bands in the world, based out of NewYork City, he’s performed for Lindy Hoppers as far away as Korea and he’s fresh off of headlining The Snow Ball in Stockholm, Sweden the big New Year’s Lindy event in Europe.
Gordon Webster at Korean Lindy Revolution 2009 with The Silver Shadows
The other late night will be anchored by two of DC’s finest. The Stacy Brooks Band, a hard driving blues band, will alternate sets with Blue Sky 5 led by Craig Gildner, the only musician to play at all 10 DC Lindy Exchanges.
Craig Gildner’s Blue Crescent Quintet
The Stacy Brooks Band
The weekend wraps up with the only band that can follow this incredible line up:The Boilermaker Jazz Band. They’re the only band to headline major events in all four US time zones in the past year: The Catalina Jazz Dance Festival in California, Lindy on The Rocks in Colorado, All Balboa Weekend in OH and the International Lindy Hop Championships right here in Washington, DC.
Back to Crytzer and Stout
Do you know how many current big bands are led by dancers? I’ll give a hint: I just named them both. So you know they have a great perspective on how to play for dancers. If you don’t believe me, then just go check out their blogs since both men have written quite a bit about the subject.
Jonathan Stout at Swing Guitar Blog
Thanks to DCLX we get to hear both men in both of their bands. On Friday we’ll see each musician leading their small groups, Glenn Crytzer’s Syncopators and Jonathan Stout & His Campus 5 featuring Hilary Alexander, as they alternate sets on the same stage.
Then it’s on to the main event on Saturday as each band leader will bring their full orchestras into a bona fide Battle of The Bands. This won’t be one of those namby pamby group hug affairs where they declare that everyone wins at the end. This will be a full on battle.
Two bands will walk in. Only one band will leave.
How do you think DCLX can afford to fly two big bands out here? Because they only have to fly one of them back.
On paper Jonathan Stout has an edge: he’ll have more musicians that have been playing together longer. Glenn Crytzer will equalize things by bringing a posse of all stars that also lead their own successful dance bands including trumpeter Bria Skonberg, bassist Jason Jurzak (of The Loose Marbles), pianist Solomon Douglas, and powerhouse vocalist Meschiya Lake.
Bria Skonberg & Her Local Five at Camp Jitterbug 2009—Lindy Hop Finals
Solomon Douglas Swingtet at the 2009 Masters of Lindy Hop & Tap
Jason Jurzak with The Loose Marbles at The Preservation Hall during French Quarter Fest 2010
I know what you’re wondering. Yeah, that’s a lot of great live music, but who is going to DJ the band breaks? Your prayers have been answered and they said: Me.* That’s right, you may be blessed with at least 15 and maybe as many as 45 minutes of my DJ’ing artistry. I may put “Blues My Naughty Sweetie Gives To Me,” “Yacht Club Swing,” and “Lindy Hoppers’ Delight” on shuffle and repeat or I just might play Sam Cooke’s Live at The Harlem Square Club all the way through. I’m wiley that way. That’s how we roll in DC.
So here’s the deal: you plan on coming on Thursday for the welcome dance and get checked in good and early so you won’t have to wait one second to dance to The Syncopators and Campus 5 playing together on Friday. Dance through the weekend to a once in a lifetime musical line up, and then stay through Tuesday night to dance at The Jam Cellar. What do you do on Monday? You go to a dance DJ’d by me. Boom.
Basically almost every major musician you’ve every heard of will be at DCLX, plus I’m DJ’ing. Why the hell haven’t you registered yet?
Seriously, everyone is going to be there. Dancers AND musicians. How many events can say that?
Really. You should just go.
I mean it.
- Jonathan Stout
- Glenn Crytzer; Glenn Crytzer’s Syncopators, Crytzer’s Blue Rhythm Band
- The Boilermaker Jazz Band
- Gordon Webster
- Blue Sky 5
- Stacy Brooks
- Meschiya Lake
- Bria Skonberg
- Solomon Douglas
- Jason Jurzak
*and some other DJ’s better than me including the IHLC competition core of Mike Marcotte and Allen Kerr along with Abigail Browning, and Corey Wright.
Disclaimer: Yes, I have a long history with this event, but I’m allowed to root for the home team every once in awhile. At least according to the completely arbitrary rules that govern this blog.
And now, we end with our national anthem