West coast friends and beyond, please join us Labor Day weekend 2018 at Camp Hollywood in Los Angeles for our west coast debut! We’ll be performing at the Friday evening dance (August 31) at Camp Hollywood at the LAX Marriott from 9:00 p.m. to midnight and the theme for the night is a tribute to the classic Hollywood film Cabaret, so come in your 1920’s/cabaret/chorus girl/emcee/Bob Fosse finest. Camp Hollywood is one of the largest and longest-running swing dance camps/competition weekends in the United States and it’s an honor for us to be invited to perform! For more information and to register, visit the Camp Hollywood website.
One of the signature tracks from our first album Durham on Saturday Night is the song One Girl and Two Boys, a classic tune performed originally by NC native Kay Kyser’s orchestra in the 1944 film Swing Fever. We love songs that tell a story, and so do dancers – it’s fun to see how people will put their own spin on this tale of a love triangle, so here are a few interpretations through dance choreography using MJJB’s recording of this song:
One of our favorite chorus girl troupes, New York City’s The Bathtub Ginnys:
A “Dance Wars Spectacular” with dancers Lisa Pearson, Dave Saylors, and Craig Johnston in the signature roles:
And, finally, the winner of the 2013 Jazz Dance Film Fest (and unofficially our first music video), spearheaded by and starring Seattle dancer Jennifer Lee:
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…
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 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!
If 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!
Artwork and design by Ryan Calloway Art
Available December 5th on Bandcamp, CD Baby, iTunes, Amazon and more!”
We’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.!
The 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!
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!
In 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.