Swing 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.
On January 30, 2016, we return to the Lone Star State capital to perform at Hot Rhythm Holiday, a weekend of workshops and dances focusing on Balboa and Collegiate Shag and there’s a music track for people who want to learn more about performing jazz! The events take place at the Texas Federation of Women’s Clubs (“the Fed”), a mansion built in 1931 with a gorgeous historic ballroom. We are excited to return to Hot Rhythm Holiday for our second year! And bring on the brisket!
If you missed our interview with Frank Stasio and Mint Julep Quintet’s live performance on WUNC’s The State of Things on Friday, December 11, 2015, you can listen to the 17 minute segment on The State of Things’ website – scroll down to the middle of the page for the audio player and press play. http://wunc.org/post/mint-julep-jazz-band-recreates-early-jazz-battle-axe#stream/0
Also, as we noted on the show, please stay tuned for a very special announcement in April, 2016!
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.
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!