Blog Archives

Music U Interview with Keenan McKenzie

The UK-based music and ear-training website Music U interviewed our reed man Keenan McKenzie about his musical origins, his work in the swing dance community, and his new album of original swing music, Forged in Rhythm – check it out and learn a bit more about the man behind the tenor saxophone in the Mint Julep Jazz Band…

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Duck Jazz Festival Highlights

Back in October we performed at the Duck Jazz Festival, a fantastic two day jazz festival on the outer banks of North Carolina, and they’ve put together a highlight reel from the festival, including the Mint Julep Jazz Band’s performance at the swing dance lesson taught by Laura Windley and Keenan McKenzie – check it out and make plans to attend this wonderful festival by the sea.

May Outdoor Shows

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May kicks off the season for outdoor concert series and we’ll be joining the ranks of bands braving the elements to bring you tunes in (hopefully) sunny and pleasant weather!  On May 16, 2018 we return to Booth Amphitheater’s Hob Nob Jazz Series for a performance on the back deck from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. – admission is $5 (free for kids 12 and under) and you can either bring a picnic or buy wine and refreshments at the amphitheater.  There’s always plenty of room at the amphitheater, both on the deck and in the grass, and the deck is good for dancing!

On May 20, 2018, we’ll be performing as part of the Got to be NC Festival at the North Carolina State Fairgrounds – find us on the stage outside of Dorton Arena playing two sets from 4:15 p.m. to 5:45 p.m.  Best of all, admission to the festival is free!

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Hot Rhythm Holiday 2018 – Austin, Texas

Austin, Texas has an amazing swing dance community and plays host to an entire weekend of Balboa and Collegiate Shag at their annual event Hot Rhythm Holiday – we’re excited to be performing for TWO nights of live music, February 16 and 17, 2018!  We’ll be at the main dances each night from 8:15 p.m. to midnight.  Be prepared for a bunch of new tunes, maybe some special guests, it’s going to be a swell time. 😉  For more information, visit the HRH website and we’ll see you soon, Austin!

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Winter Blues Jazz Fest – Williamsburg, Virginia

We are excited to announce our addition to the lineup of the 4th Annual Winter Blues Jazz Fest in Williamsburg, Virginia – find us on Friday, January 10, 2018 at the Mixology and Music event at the Williamsburg Lodge, which features a sampling of cocktails from the best bartenders and mixologists in the area and, of course, some hot jazz and swing from yours truly.  We play from 7:00 p.m. to  9:30 p.m. and tickets are $60 per person or $100 per couple for this special event.  Purchase tickets at Eventbrite.

Facebook event at https://www.facebook.com/events/698087857043867/

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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

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!