On Saturday, April 28, we’ll hit the road for a gig in Greensboro at the Oriental Shrine Club, playing the evening dance as part of the Piedmont Swing Dance Society‘s spring workshops with Joel Plys and Jenna Applegarth. We’re looking forward to seeing a big crowd of dancers out for this one!

Oriental Shrine Club
5010 High Point Road
Greensboro, NC

7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. – Free beginner lesson with admission

8:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. – Mint Julep Jazz Band plays

Admission: $8.00 for Members and Students Under 21, $10.00 for Non-Members

For more information about the Piedmont Swing Dance Society, the dance, and the workshops, please visit the PSDS website at http://www.piedmontswingdance.org/

The terms “jazz” and “swing” can conjure very different imagery and sounds, depending on who you ask. With that in mind, it can be difficult to describe the music we perform in the Mint Julep Jazz Band. When most people think of “jazz,” what usually comes to mind is smaller combos playing bebop, modern jazz, straight ahead jazz, or standards. The term “swing” tends to bring up thoughts of Glenn Miller’s recording of “In the Mood,” Benny Goodman’s recording of “Sing Sing Sing,” or even Louis Prima’s “Jump, Jive, and Wail.” While the understanding of these terms may be more of a pop culture reference to most, it’s kind of like saying all music from the 1970’s is disco, or all music from the 1980’s is new wave – the terms jazz and swing have a much broader definition, with jazz as the umbrella term and swing as a subset of jazz.

A packed Casino Ballroom at Catlina Island, CA, circa 1940, swing band in the distance, beyond the sea of people...

So where does the Mint Julep Jazz Band fit into swing and jazz?

Jazz, in its earliest form, originated in the early 20th century. In terms of a timeline, the Mint Julep Jazz Band doesn’t go all the way back to the beginning of jazz, but does pick up jazz shortly thereafter. In the 1920’s, jazz grew to prominence and began to gain mass appeal, thanks to the popularity of radio and enhancements in recording technology. The Mint Julep Jazz Band plays several arrangements of jazz tunes from this era, primarily from the late 1920’s.

Jazz continued to gain popularity into the 1930’s, and began to take on the name “swing.” Most of the music we play is from the 1930’s and early 1940’s, which was the height of the swing era. This music is still jazz and, at the time, was America’s pop music – it was the music that filled the dance halls and airwaves, it was trendy and was associated with youth culture. We believe this music was popular because it is so much fun – it’s toe-tapping music, has a great energy, and is a joy to perform.

Thus, it’s possible for us to be both a jazz band and a swing band because the terms overlap. We hope you’ll come to one of our shows and hear some of this music firsthand – even within early jazz and swing, there are different sounds and subsets to keep things interesting, and we think you’ll like what you hear!

On Saturday, March 31, the Mint Julep Jazz Band will be featured at Altar Ego, an event at the Washington Duke Inn that features a bridal fashion show, table top designs, food, music and dancing.

The Washington Duke Inn
3001 Cameron Boulevard
Durham, NC 27705

6:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.

Mint Julep Jazz Band plays from 8:30 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.

General Admission: $35.00
VIP Admission (front row seating): $75.00

For more information and to purchase tickets, see the event’s Eventbrite page.

For photographs of past Altar Ego events, visit http://www.trebellabridal.com/Fashion_Show.html.

We’ll be donning our finest emerald apparel for the Mint Julep Jazz Band show on March 17, 2012 at the Triangle Swing Dance Society swing dance, held at the Carrboro Century Center. Come dance on the finest sprung wood floor in the Triangle! Don’t know how to dance? No problem! There’s a beginner lesson at 7:00 p.m. that is included with the price of admission.

Carrboro Century Center
100 N. Greensboro Street
Carrboro, NC

Beginner east coast swing lesson – 7:00 p.m.

Band plays from 8:00-11:00 p.m.

Admission: Members/students $8.00, general admission $12.00

The Mint Julep Jazz Band is looking forward to playing the Saturday night dance of the Queen City Lindy Exchange on March 10, 2012 in Charlotte, NC! The Queen City Lindy Exchange is a weekend-long Lindy Hop event offering almost non-stop DJ’ed and live music for swing dancing, showcasing the dance community and venues in Charlotte. The Saturday night dance details:

Chantilly Hall
2101 Shenandoah Ave.
Charlotte, NC 28205

7:00 p.m. – Beginner Balboa lesson with Chris & Holly Owens

8:00 p.m. – 11:30 p.m. – Open dancing, with a Jack and Jill swing dance competition to occur during one of the band breaks

A la carte price – $25 at the door

Weekend pass – $60.00 until March 7, $65.00 at the door

For more information, visit http://www.qclx.org.

Thanks to everyone who either came out last night to hear the band at the RDU Rent Party/Hot Club of Durham swing dance or tuned in for the show via live stream on Ustream – we had a great time playing for everyone! If you missed the show and the live stream, vocalist Laura Windley managed to video a few songs from the show, which are posted below – enjoy!

“Main Stem,” performed by the Mint Julep Jazz Band at the RDU Rent Party/Hot Club of Durham swing dance, February 23, 2012, Durham, NC.

“Deed I Do,” performed by the Mint Julep Jazz Band at the RDU Rent Party/Hot Club of Durham swing dance, February 23, 2012, Durham, NC.

“Front and Center,” performed by the Mint Julep Jazz Band at the RDU Rent Party/Hot Club of Durham swing dance, February 23, 2012, Durham, NC.

“Jive at Five,” performed by the Mint Julep Jazz Band at the RDU Rent Party/Hot Club of Durham swing dance, February 23, 2012, Durham, NC.

We are excited to announce that we will be live streaming the Mint Julep Jazz Band show this Thursday, February 23, 2012, through our Ustream channel. Tune in from 9:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m. to catch our debut performance!

It’s easy to do – simply click on this link – http://www.ustream.tv/channel/mint-julep-jazz-band – and watch the show from the comfort of your own home. We’ll be broadcasting the show via Laura’s iPhone. Technology is amazing!

This live stream of the show is the special request of our friend Elizabeth Tietgen, who has been very ill and in the ICU for the past two weeks. She is overcoming almost insurmountable odds to recover and is making great strides, but is not well enough to attend the show. She asked that we do the live stream so that she wouldn’t miss our first performance, and it was such a great idea that we thought we’d open the live stream up for everyone to see!

Elizabeth is the founder and organizer of the Triangle Tap Project, the Triangle chapter of “a nationwide campaign by the US fund for UNICEF to raise funds to provide clean water and sanitation in developing countries.” We would encourage everyone who attends the show or tunes in via Ustream to donate to this cause that is near and dear to Elizabeth’s heart. You can make a donation to the Triangle Tap Project fundraiser via the Triangle Tap Project website.