What started out as a Mint Julep Quintet gig at G2B Gastro Pub on November 7, 2014 ended up a full-fledged Mint Julep Jazz Band for the second set – our regular tenor player Keenan McKenzie joined us from the audience and trumpet player Jason Bohde stopped by to sit in. Thanks to Keenan’s dad, Woody McKenzie, who filmed us and to Jack Mitchell for editing and uploading to YouTube! Check out “Egyptian Ella” and “Some of These Days” below:
Several events have requested promotional photos, so we decided to put together a photo shoot. This proved to be a more difficult task than we imagined, coordinating schedules with 8 band members, a photographer, and various venues as possible backdrops. When all else failed, we decided to meet after a rehearsal at a public building. When we got to the location we realized it was locked, but we made the best of the situation by doing the shoot outside, in the dark, doing our best to stay warm in the freezing January weather. Special thanks to Richard and Katherine Springs of A Captured Image for braving the cold with us to take these photos!
Check out the frozen fruits of our labor, which are also available on the “Photos” page of this website. From left to right in the photo below: Peter Lamb (tenor saxophone), Jared Wofford (guitar/banjo), Aaron Tucker (drums), Aaron Hill (alto saxophone/clarinet), Jason Foureman (bass), Al Strong (trumpet), Lucian Cobb (trombone), and Laura Windley (vocals).
We’re looking forward to our Durham debut performance on Thursday, February 23, 2012 at Durham’s weekly Lindy Hop and Swing dance night at Hot Club of Durham, with the band hosted by RDU Rent Party! RDU Rent Party is a pay-what-you-can swing dance where all the donations taken at the door go to the band at the end of the night. The idea is twofold: no one should be denied good music simply because they can’t afford the admission price and that the musicians should reap the benefits of any donations collected as a show of appreciation for their talents. Everyone is welcome at this event – this is a large venue and there will be plenty of seating at tables for people who are not dancing.
Also making her debut with the Mint Julep Jazz Band is DJ Sarah Ovenall, host of WXDU’s Divaville Lounge, which highlights “great songs and singers from Tin Pan Alley to the swing era,” every Sunday from 2-4 p.m. on 88.7 FM. If you’ve ever heard Sarah’s show, you know that she has an extensive music collection from the jazz age and swing era. She’s up for this new DJ challenge and we’re excited to hear her first set for dancers!
Hot Club of Durham
410 W. Geer Street
8:00 p.m. – Beginner lesson
9:00 p.m.-12:00 a.m. – The Mint Julep Jazz Band and DJ Sarah Ovenall
RDU Rent Party is pay-what-you-can with a suggested $10 minimum donation
The Facebook invite: http://www.facebook.com/events/234356989972442/
For more information, visit
We are excited to have Russ Wilson making an appearance as our drummer at the Queen City Lindy Exchange‘s Saturday night dance on March 10, 2012! Russ Wilson is an esteemed bandleader in his own right, leading the Nouveau-Passe Orchestra, Russ Wilson and his Mighty Mighty Men, and the Russ Wilson Swingtette, and appears with many other great bands in the Asheville/Hendersonville area, like the Firecracker Jazz Band.
We love to play with Russ because he’s got some serious early jazz drumming chops and has so much experience playing for dancers – it’s going to be an amazing night of dancing in Charlotte!
The Mint Julep Jazz Band is excited to be included in the lineup for The Art of Cool Project‘s concert series at LabourLove Gallery in Durham, North Carolina. We’ll be their featured band for the May 18, 2012 concert, but until then there are a lot of things going on with this jazz advocacy non-profit that may interest you.
What is The Art of Cool Project? From their website: “The Art of Cool Project is a jazz (also music with jazz roots) and art advocacy project that strives to cross artistic, economic, and cultural boundaries to bring together a diverse mix of people and creativity. We are dedicated to promoting the local vibrant, varied, and surprisingly under-appreciated music and art scene. The project is a unique collaboration between the music and art communities to bring both creative mediums to supporters in an intimate concert setting.”
The Art of Cool Project is a creative philanthropic project spearheaded by Mint Julep Jazz Band trumpeter, Albert Strong IV, and Cicely Mitchell, Al’s amazing girlfriend, social media guru, and jazz advocacy superwoman.
A recent addition to The Art of Cool Project’s website is a jazz calendar for the Triangle, which will include all forms of jazz and displays a running calendar that you can check to see what is happening this week, next month, and beyond. The Mint Julep Jazz Band will be submitting our public concerts to this list and we would encourage other Triangle area jazz groups to utilize this resource.
What can you do to support this worthwhile non-profit? A few things:
2) Donate to the Holiday Chair Campaign – thus far, the AOC Project has had to rent 80 chairs for each of their concerts. To keep costs down, they are running a Holiday Chair Campaign to raise money to buy chairs for the concert series. A donation of $40 will fund one the chairs and get your name (or name of a loved one or business) painted on the back of the chair as well as preferred seating for the concerts with RSVP.
4) Check the jazz calendar regularly and support the Art of Cool Project’s concert series (every third Friday of the month at LabourLove Gallery) and other local jazz artists.
5) Come to LabourLove Gallery on May 18 to hear the Mint Julep Jazz Band!
Starting a new band raises a lot of questions – in conversations with people, these questions have come up most frequently, so here’s a little FAQ to get you more acquainted with the Mint Julep Jazz Band:
What kind of music will you play?
We will focus on music from the 1920’s and 1930’s, but some early 1940’s tunes may creep into the mix. The band will be playing arrangements that are either transcribed from original recordings or reproductions of original recordings (or a combination of both – sometimes having a hi-fi reference helps a lot) and arrangements that our maestro Lucian Cobb creates on his own, based on songs from this era. We will be playing a few arrangements Lucian has done in the past and songs you may have heard vocalist Laura Windley perform, but the majority of the material will be new. Most importantly, this music will swing!
How many people will be in the band?
Right now, we really like the idea of having either a 7 or 8 piece band, giving us either a 3 or 4 piece rhythm section with 3 horns, plus a vocalist. With this format, we are able to play arrangements of big band or smaller group charts, giving us a fuller sound than a jazz combo. We are also able to offer a more affordable alternative to a big band.
Will you have a smaller group?
Unfortunately, we will not have a smaller group. We understand that this limits the venues we can play, especially locally, but we are more interested in creating a specific sound.
Who is going to be in the band?
We’d like to have a set lineup, but in the jazz world this is not always possible – some of our band members have bands of their own, so we are fortunate enough to have other jazz musicians that we have worked with in the past to fill their shoes. You can be sure you will see Peter Lamb (sax), Al Strong (trumpet), Aaron Tucker (drums), Jason Foureman (bass), Aaron Hill (sax), Rich Willey (trumpet), Kyle Santos (trumpet), Mark Wells (piano), and other great jazz musicians from the Triangle and beyond who we enjoy performing with and will lend their unique talents to this endeavor.
When will you be ready to play?
The goal is to be ready in March and, indeed, we’ve already got gigs in March 2012 and beyond! For more details, see our calendar page. We do have a show on February 23 for RDU Rent Party – we invite everyone to come to this sneak preview!
Where will you play?
Our bread and butter will be swing dances, and we’ve already got a wedding on the books. We are also available for community events, outdoor festivals, jazz societies, schools, private parties, charity events/fundraisers, historic and reenactment-related events, and, really, anywhere that people enjoy music. We are looking to travel outside of the Triangle area of North Carolina and would welcome gig opportunities in other cities.
We have a unique opportunity in starting a new band that has members who have played together for years in other bands and share a love of early jazz and swing – we aren’t starting from scratch, per se, but there is a certain amount of re-tooling involved when you’ve only been in official existence for a few weeks. One of the things we are working on is creating a book with some of Lucian’s old arrangements for a 7 piece band, but mostly new arrangements. We have lots of ideas for songs, but to create a comprehensive song book we want to include songs that our fans and friends love, as well.
The most demanding gig we will probably play is a swing dance, which we figured out would necessitate at least 45 songs. We’ve got 45 songs in mind, but perhaps you have a better idea, or one that we can add to the book at a later time – because, really, the book will never be finished, it will be something that we add to as long as we are playing. If you have an idea for a song you’d like to hear from a live band, let us know – it happens a lot with 1920’s and 1930’s music that you may not have heard a song other than in a recording. Feel free to post your suggestions here or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are enjoying bringing this music to life and look forward to showing you what we’ve got in March!
The Mint Julep Jazz Band is excited to announce that we will be playing the Queen City Lindy Exchange on March 10, 2012! QCLX 2012: The Queen City Strikes Back will have a Star Wars theme and Lucian (aka Luke) Cobb is already planning on bringing his lightsaber, along with MJJB’s hot lineup of jazz musicians. Special thanks to Eric and Stephanie Simpson of QCLX for giving us our official premier gig!