Blog Archives

Keenan McKenzie Releases Album of Original Swing Music

23659509_10103419847799641_1131617545580786145_nIf you love Keenan McKenzie’s original tunes and arrangements on the Mint Julep Jazz Band albums, you can now get even more of this great music in your life – Keenan is releasing a brand new album of original swing music written by the maestro himself called Forged in Rhythm, available now for preview and pre-order on Bandcamp and full release coming December 5!

Here’s Keenan’s post about the album release:

“If you’d asked me a few years ago, I wouldn’t have imagined my first album would be 15 radio-length songs, all in 4/4 time. I now owe so much to the dance community that it’s hard to imagine it going any other way. Swing music has provided some unforgettable experiences and introduced me to a world of wonderful people, including Allison Meeks (you make my heart go thump thump thump!)

I’m thrilled to announce the upcoming release of FORGED IN RHYTHM. This album of original tunes is a celebration of my favorite ‘30s/‘40s musicians and a love letter to the swing dance scene. I got to work with some phenomenal players and great friends, and we had a blast making this record. I can’t wait for you to hear it!

Keenan McKenzie……………reeds
Gordon Au…………………..trumpet
Lucian Cobb……………..trombone
Jonathan Stout……………….guitar
Chris Dawson………………….piano
Seth Ford-Young………………bass
Josh Collazo………………….drums
Laura Windley………………..vocals
Miles Senzaki……………..engineer

Artwork and design by Ryan Calloway Art

Available December 5th on Bandcamp, CD Baby, iTunes, Amazon and more!”

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Photograph by Brad Nathanson Photography

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Duck Jazz Festival – October 7, 2017

-1The Duck Jazz Festival is a special and unique event in North Carolina and we were excited to perform as part of the festival in 2015 – coastal North Carolina is not known for its bustling music scene (Laura writing here, as a native of Beaufort, can attest to this firsthand), so that the coastal town of Duck, along with sponsors such as the North Carolina Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts, puts their efforts into a well-curated, day-long jazz festival that is free and open to the public on a beautiful beach-side town commons is a feat, a wonder, and a blissful experience for those coastal natives who may not make it to larger metro areas very often to catch the latest in jazz performances.

This year the festival has expanded to include two days of music – the traditional day-long festival on Sunday and they have added a Saturday afternoon set on the town commons featuring the Mint Julep Jazz Band.  We hope you will join us for this free show from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. with a swing dance lesson between sets taught by Laura and Keenan.   Then, stay for Sunday’s concerts, with performances from Davina and the Vagabonds, the Marquis Hill Blacktet, the Rad Trads, the Robert Jospe Express Trio, the Second Marine Aircraft Wing Jazz Ensemble, and the First Flight High School Jazz Band.

To be asked back to perform at this festival is an honor and a joy – the jazz fans at this festival are gracious and responsive, the best audience an artist could ask for.  See you soon, Duck!

All Balboa Weekend 2017

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Photograph from ABW 2015, courtesy of @bobbykate on Instagram

On June 10, 2017 we’ll perform for our fourth year in a row at All Balboa Weekend!  It is always an honor to be invited to perform at this long-running Balboa event that is home to what is essentially the world championships of Balboa.  Our friends Michael Gamble and the Rhythm Serenaders are performing on Friday night and we’ll be the Saturday night band.  We’ve also got a special surprise for you with guest vocalist Nick Williams, so don’t miss a moment of the live music at ABW!

Photographs from Lincoln Center

We’re excited to share with you the wonderful photographs New York photographer, dancer, DJ, and podcast host Ryan Swift took of the Mint Julep Jazz Band performing at Lincoln Center’s Midsummer Night Swing!  He was limited to the press area and public areas in terms of where he could take photographs and we think he did an amazing job, even with these limitations.  Here are a few of our favorites below and you can see the entire set on his Flickr page.

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Festifall Arts Festival – October 2, 2016

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On Sunday, October 2, the Mint Julep Jazz Band will be performing on the main stage at Chapel Hill’s Festifall Arts Festival! Come dance, check out all the great vendors, artists, bands, and food trucks, and enjoy the fall weather with us. The festival is free and the band plays a set on the main stage (near the Franklin Hotel) from 1:55 p.m. to 2:55 p.m.

For more information visit the Festifall website: http://www.chapelhillfestifall.com/

Rolling Sculpture Art Deco Car Exhibit – September 29, 2016

When the North Carolina Museum of Art reached out to us about performing at their Art Deco car exhibit, the response was a resounding yes – 30’s and 40’s machines of beauty plus music from the same era?  Yes, please!

We’ll be opening the Rolling Sculpture: Art Deco Cars from the 1930s and ’40s exhibit with a soiree on September 29 featuring food, cocktails, and hot jazz amongst the rolling sculptures featured in the exhibit.  Band plays from 6:45 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.  This is the first of many cool events surrounding this exhibit, check out the NCMA Rolling Sculpture exhibit webpage to see what’s in store in the coming months!

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I Heart Balboa – September 3, 2016

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Graphics we can only assume were created by the event mastermind, Erica Vess

If you like your Balboa events peppered with cats with laser beam eyes, dinosaurs, world-class instruction, and lots of foodie restaurants, join us for a fun, nerdy weekend of Balboa dancing and instruction at I Heart Balboa in Richmond, Virginia.  The event runs September 2-4, 2016 and we’ll be performing at the Saturday night dance on September 3, 2016 – we are excited to be back to perform for their second year!

Dogtown Dance Theater
109 West 15th St
Richmond, VA

Time: 8:30 p.m. to midnight

Admission: For more information, visit the I Heart Balboa website.

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Photo by Kadie Pangburn.

 

July 9, 2016 at Bearden Music Series, Charlotte, NC

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The dance floor at last year’s concert.

We are honored to be asked by Mecklenburg County Parks and Recreation to be a part of the Bearden Music Series again this year, after having a fantastic turnout at last year’s outdoor concert.  We’ll be performing a free concert on July 9, 2016 from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at Bearden Park, a lovely outdoor space admidst the tall buildings of uptown Charlotte.

Bring a lawn chair or blanket and some summer eats (or pick up dinner from one of the food trucks) and relax under the sunset and stars during the concert, or take advantage of the dance floor and a free swing dance lesson by Gottaswing Charlotte on the first band break.

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We’re hoping for the same beautiful weather we had last year!

Bearden Park
300 S. Church St.
Charlotte, NC

6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Admission is FREE.

See you soon, Charlotte!

Mint Julep Jazz Band at Lincoln Center in New York!

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We are beyond excited to announce that the Mint Julep Jazz Band will be performing at Lincoln Center in New York as a part of their Midsummer Night Swing concert series! Join us on June 24, 2016 under the stars for a night of swing music in the Big Apple!

The concert series, which runs from June 21 through July 9, 2016, features live music of the dancing variety, with a big dance floor set up in front of the Lincoln Center bandshell at Damrosch Park – artists joining us in this series include Catherine Russell, Septeto Santiaguero, the Allen Toussaint Band, and many other wonderful artists from New York and beyond!

From the Midsummer Night Swing website: “This North Carolina–based “little” big band’s goal is simple: to keep you on the dance floor. Specializing in the great swing tunes of the ’30s, the eight-piece band has been tearing through the Lindy hop competition circuit, leaving masses of new fans in its wake. Sweet and refreshing with an intoxicating kick, the band makes its highly anticipated New York debut at Midsummer Night Swing.”

For more information on the event, tickets, artists, and the dances featured in lessons before each show, visit http://midsummernightswing.org.

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Concert at Edward C. Smith Civic Center in Lexington, NC – April 30, 2016

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The Edward C. Smith Civic Center, a wonderful theater in Lexington, NC built in 1948, is hosting the Mint Julep Jazz Band for a rare theater concert on April 30, 2016. We’ll have a special program for this evening and we hope you will join us for a night of swing music, past and present! For more information, visit the theater website at http://www.smithciviccenter.org/ and get your tickets in advance by calling the theater box office at 336.249.7875.  $20 for adults and $15 for students, and the theater is also offering a group rate for groups of 6 or more.

There will be a dance floor in the theater for those who might like to dance during the performance and there will also be a bunch of plush theater seats, if that’s your bag.  And how about that stage?  Fit for an MGM musical – see you soon!