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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October is for Firsts – North Carolina State Fair and Jammin’ on the James

17457328_10154389045838202_8816845649020388201_nWe’ve got two exciting firsts this week, first time gigs for us at great events!

October 19, 2017 – we’ll be at the North Carolina State Fair in Raleigh, NC (now in its 150th year!) as part of the fair’s Homegrown Music Fest highlighting bands from all over the state throughout the week.  We’ll be at the Kitchen Craft Waterfall Stage playing two sets, from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.  Come grab a turkey leg and watch us perform!

October 20-21, 2017  Mint Julep Jazz Band at Jammin’ on the James, Richmond, VA – excited to be performing for the first time at this fantastic workshop weekend, now in its 15th year.  We’ll be sharing the weekend with instructors Sylvia Sykes, Skye Humphries, Naomi Uyama, and Nick Williams and with local jazz manouche outfit Gypsy Roots.  Come see us at the Friday and Saturday main dances at the Lewis Ginter Recreation Center from 8:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.!

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I Heart Bal – September 2, 2017

Excited to be returning to Richmond, VA this weekend for I Heart Bal, a wonderful Balboa workshop weekend with this year’s slogan of “Don’t Stop BALievin'” and world-class Balboa instruction from Kelly Arsenault and Mickey Fortanasce, Chelsea Lee and David Lee, and Annabel Quisao and Michael Quisao.  If you love swing music, unicorns, and awesome people, this is probably the event for you. See you soon, lovelies!

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That New Old Sound Update

a2618128978_16In December of 2016 we announced that a Mint Julep Jazz Band song would be a part of a compilation album called That New Old Sound, organized by our friend and bandleader Glenn Crytzer, where 100% of the proceeds would go to the American Civil Liberties Union.  As of this July 4, 2017, the album has raised over $6,000 for the ACLU!  If you haven’t already, pick up a copy of this great album, with 17 tracks from musicians all over the United States playing traditional jazz and swing music, and celebrate your right to listen and our right to perform this wonderful music.

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!

HobNob Jazz Series at Booth Amphitheater – May 17, 2017

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Photo from our first performance at Booth Amphitheater a few years ago, courtesy of Frank Myers of Sweet Life Studios

We are excited to be returning for a third year to Booth Amphitheater’s Hob Nob Jazz Series!  This is a family-friendly event at a beautiful outdoor venue, with ample space for a picnic on the grass, chairs on the deck for lounging, food and beverage vendors, and lots of room to dance.  Join us on May 17, 2017 for an evening of swing era tunes, sponsored by HobNob Wines!

Koka Booth Amphitheater
8003 Regency Parkway
Cary, NC

5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Admission: Only $5.00 for adults and kids 12 and under get in free – visit the Booth Amphitheater website to purchase tickets in advance.

Nashville Dance Congress – May 5-6, 2017

We don’t see a lot of arts grant money going to social dance events, so it’s rare and wonderful that organizers of the Nashville Dance Congress have been the beneficiaries of a grant allowing them to provide a weekend of FREE dance classes from renowned instructors and social dances to live and DJ’ed music!  Featured dance genres are Salsa, Bachata, Ballroom Cabaret, West Coast Swing, Kizomba, Tango, Zouk, Lindy Hop, Balboa, and more!  We’re excited to be invited to be a part of this inaugural event as the swing band – we’ll be performing three sets over the weekend, Friday and Saturday nights from 11:00 p.m. to 1:30 a.m., and a Saturday afternoon set from 2:15 p.m. to 3:15 p.m.

If you are staying at the Millennium Maxwell House Hotel, this event is free!  For more information or if you are not staying at the hotel, visit the Nashville Dance Congress website.

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Video: Feel the Swing Via a Flying Camera

Our recording of “Darktown Strutter’s Ball” is featured in this video with Balboa dancers Andreas Olsson and Olga Marina, taken with a “flying camera” – the visual effect is stunning and whimsical, given the great talent of videographer Carsten Kramer and the dancers.  The video was taken at the Werkstätten Hellerau in Dresden, Germany when the dancers were in town for the Balboa Dayz event.  Enjoy!

That New Old Sound – A Compilation Album to Benefit the ACLU

a2618128978_16Swing bandleader Glenn Crytzer wanted to do something to make a difference, so he had this idea of a compilation album of modern day swing and traditional jazz bands coming together to contribute music to benefit the American Civil Liberties Union.  After reaching out to 16 bands (including the Mint Julep Jazz Band!), fundraising, organizing the production of this album, and getting the blessing of the ACLU, the album is ready for purchase!  Pick up a copy of That New Old Sound on Bandcamp, either digital or physical, and if you order by December 17, he’ll ship it to you in time for Christmas – an extra $2.00 and he’ll even gift wrap it for you.  All the proceeds from the sale of this album go to the ACLU to support the defense and preservation of civil liberties

Who’s on this album?  Lots of swing and early jazz goodness from all over the United States, including, of course, Glenn Crytzer (New York), Tuba Skinny (New Orleans), Greg Ruby and the Rhythm Runners (Seattle), Dandy Wellington and his Band (New York), the Boilermaker Jazz Band (Pittsburgh), Jonathan Stout and his Campus Five (Los Angeles), Dan Levinson and his Canary Cottage Dance Orchestra (New York), Gordon Webster (New York), Mint Julep Jazz Band (Durham, NC), Mona’s Hot Four (New York), Solomon Douglas (Seattle/New York/a boat somewhere off the coast of Australia), the Grand Street Stompers (New York), Jonathan Doyle Swingtet (Austin/Chicago), Meschiya Lake and the Little Big Horns (New Orleans), George Gee Swing Orchestra (New York), and Baby Soda (New York).

We are excited to be a part of this compilation album, a great gift idea for any jazz lover or to give someone as a sampler of what’s going on with early jazz today, and to do a small part to contribute to the greater good.

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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