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FAQ About 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.

Your Suggestions Are Welcome

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 mintjulepjazzband@gmail.com.

We are enjoying bringing this music to life and look forward to showing you what we’ve got in March!