Casey MacGill photo by Daniel Sheehan
Various venues, Seattle
The Savoy Swing Club, Seattle’s non-profit organization dedicated to vintage swing dance, presents the 2017 Seattle Lindy Extravaganza the third weekend of July. Previously, the club ran the Seattle Lindy Exchange and Killer Diller Weekend, but has rebranded this year to take parts of each event and turn them into one, to feature some of the best bands, venues, dances, competitions, and classes right in the heart of Seattle.
The weekend will feature headline performances by Jonathan Stout and Hilary Alexander, Casey MacGill, Mood Indigo, Jonathan Doyle, and the Washboard Cutups. The Extravaganza also includes classes, led by some of the Pacific Northwest’s most prominent instructors, on tap, African, house, solo jazz, and Lindy hop. A competitive bonus for weekend pass holders only, the event holds competitions every night.
The Extravaganza will also see its first-ever Pro-Am Picnic & Jam, hosted by Jacob Zimmerman, on Saturday afternoon from 4-7pm. Professional musicians, including Albert Alva, Casey MacGill, Jonathan Doyle, and Hilary Alexander, will join forces with local jazz enthusiasts to spend the afternoon jamming along at Volunteer Park. Bring your instrument, and enjoy a taco bar (and $5 margaritas for those of-age!) provided by the Savoy Swing Club.
On Friday night, join the nation’s premier swing dance band, Jonathan Stout and his Campus Five, featuring Hilary Alexander, at Washington Hall. Showcasing the small-group sound of the late 1930s and early 1940s, the seven-piece Campus Five captures the true sound of the Swing Era, with all the energy and excitement that inspired millions to dance. Influences include the Benny Goodman Sextet, Artie Shaw’s Grammercy Five, Count Basie’s Kansas City Six, and the Harlem-based small groups of Illinois Jacquet, Cootie Williams, Coleman Hawkins, and Hot Lips Page. Founders Stout and Alexander have been dedicated swing dancers for over 20 years, and the relationship between swing music and swing dance informs all aspects of the Campus Five. Song selection, tempo, song length and feel are all chosen with danceability in mind. The Campus Five has been featured at many of the premier swing dance events around the world, and are known for their unparalleled competition music, which inspires dancers to new heights.
Saturday night, attendees are invited to wear sparkles, flowers, twigs, and vines for the Mid-Summer Ball, a magical evening complete with music by the Jonathan Stout Orchestra, featuring Hilary Alexander and special guest Casey MacGill. An upsized version of the Campus Five, the 15-piece Orchestra captures the unmatched excitement and true rhythmic pulse of the Swing Era. The band follows the templates of Benny Goodman and Count Basie — orchestras that are aggressive and tight, and filled with all-star soloists that bring the fire on every song, regardless of tempo.
Sunday afternoon, head to Westlake Park for an outdoor dance featuring the Washboard Cutups. Formed by Seattle percussionist and singer Mike Daugherty, the Washboard Cutups is a Prohibition Era-style band that blues, stomps, rags, and early jazz, and includes Bert Barr (cornet), Dave Loomis (trombone), Kevin Johnston (banjo), and Taylor Kent (bass, tuba).
Sunday night finds Casey MacGill and Mood Indigo, featuring Jonathan Doyle, at Century Ballroom, located in Capitol Hill’s historic Oddfellows Building. MacGill performs music that swings, with a sound like Nat “King” Cole Trio meets the Mills Brothers, Fats Waller meets Fats Domino, and Slim Galliard meets Fred Astaire. It is American music of many decades and no decade in particular, all happening at the same time, woven into a seamless, beautiful whole. At the core of his sound are his band’s sometimes sweet, sometimes rough-hewn three-part harmony vocals and a piano-ukulele-bass-and-drums rhythm section that swings in a variety of textures.
This is an action-packed weekend vintage swing dancers and music lovers do not want to miss.
For more information on the Seattle Lindy Extravaganza, including full schedule and how to register, visit savoyswing.org.