This past weekend the Mint Julep Jazz Band premiered three new music videos as part of the California Balboa Classic’s virtual event, CalBal Live! The event reached out to 5 bands/bandleaders to create brand new recordings for the event, compiled remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic, including Michael Gamble and the Rhythm Serenaders, Gordon Au’s Grand Street Stompers, the Jen Hodge All-Stars, Keenan McKenzie and the Riffers, and the Mint Julep Jazz Band. We hope you enjoy these new-to-us tunes, here’s the scoop on each song, the sponsors, and the musicians for each recording:

COWBELL SERENADE

If you say CalBal three times fast it might come out sounding like cowbell at the end – hence this tune is a pun on the event’s nickname. We’d been looking for pitched cowbells for years, online an at music stores, and it took a pandemic Zoom cocktail hangout for the topic of almglocken to come out. Thanks to Jonathan Stout for the suggestion, we think they worked out great! Here’s our rendition of Johnny Blowers’ Cowbell Serenade, sponsored by Gary Chyi.

Lucian Cobb – trombone, Matt Fattal – trumpet, Keenan McKenzie – tenor saxophone, Aaron Hill – alto saxophone, Chip Newton – guitar, Jason Foureman – bass, Kobie Watkins – drums, Laura Windley – glockenspiel

I’M GONNA SIT RIGHT DOWN AND WRITE MYSELF A LETTER

This is an original arrangement of I’m Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter, written by Lucian Cobb, with vocals inspired by the Boswell Sisters. Thanks so much to Kevin Wang, Lian Tarhay, Ursula Hicks, Kevin Nguyen, Matt Mitchell, and Jennifer Reed, all swing dancers in Austin and Dallas, Texas, who joined forces to sponsor this song for CalBal Live.

Laura Windley – vocals, Lucian Cobb – trombone, Paul Rogers – trumpet, Keenan McKenzie – tenor saxophone, Aaron Hill – alto saxophone, Ben Lassiter – guitar, Peter Kimosh – bass, Aaron Tucker – drums

RAGGIN’ THE SCALE

When we started talking to the CalBal Live organizers it became clear that they were excited about everything the bandleaders proposed and were up for funding big band charts. While the Mint Julep Jazz Band isn’t a big band, Lucian really wanted to do a big band song because it would be fun to put together. He had already transcribed Raggin’ the Scale (from an Ella Fitzgerald and her Famous Orchestra live recording from the Savoy Ballroom) for Michael Gamble and the Rhythm Serenaders Orchestra and Michael gave his blessing for us to record Lucian’s transcription, so here we are! Thanks so much to Pasadena Balboa and Jam for sponsoring Raggin’ the Scale, this song is an absolute blast.

Trumpet – Renee McGee, Jay Meachum, and Jim Ketch; Trombone – Lucian Cobb and Evan Ringel; Alto Saxophone – Brian Miller and Aaron Hill; Tenor Saxophone – Keenan McKenzie and Annalise Stalls; Drums – Dan Faust; Bass – William Ledbetter; Guitar – Ben Lassiter; Piano – Clark Stern; Glockenspiel – Laura Windley

The Global Trickeration Project was created by the organizers of the International Lindy Hop Championships to celebrate Norma Miller‘s 100th birthday and her signature choreography.  The project invited dancers from all over the world to learn Norma’s Trickeration routine, film it, and send it to ILHC to be included in a tribute to Norma at the International Lindy Hop Championships.  Norma’s legacy and dancing live on as the Queen of Swing continues to inspire us today and talk about her legacy following her passing last year.

Traditionally, Trickeration is done to Count Basie’s recording of “Jive at Five,” but the dancers in Lyon, France opted to use our recording of this fantastic tune for their choreography – thanks and cheers!  Here’s to Norma!

We are excited to announce a double-nighter on the southern coast/Cape Fear area of North Carolina, which is a new area for us and I know some people are very excited to have us in their town for a little hot jazz listening and rug-cutting!

On Friday, January 10, 2020 we’ll be at the Hannah Block Historic USO in Wilmington, NC for a swing dance hosted by the Cape Fear Swing Dance Society – join us from 7:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. for dancing in this historic venue.  Admission is $15.00.  For more information visit the CFSDS website.

On Saturday, January 11, 2020 we will do a rare sit-down concert for Brunswick Community College’s Odell Williamson Auditorium in Bolivia, NC.  We’ll plan a program of interesting tidbits and tasty tunes for your listening ears.  For more information and to purchase advance tickets, visit the auditorium’s concert series website.

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The next two weekends are packed with great dancing and music and we’re excited to be a part of all of it!  On July 6, 2019, find us at the historical Glen Echo Spanish Ballroom for the inaugural Red, White, & Bal, a Balboa Workshop weekend hosted by Capital City Swing.  We’ll be performing from 9 p.m. to midnight – for more information, visit the event website.

On July 13, 2019, our hometown of Durham, NC is the backdrop for the Triangle Swing Dance Society’s first full-fledged Lindy Hop workshop weekend, the Bull City Swingout.  We’ll be performing at another historic ballroom, the Durham Armory, from 8:00 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.  For more information, visit the BCS website.

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We’ll be making our DCLX debut this year, performing at Glen Echo Park’s Spanish Ballroom for the Saturday late night (i.e. the wee hours of Sunday morning) from 1:00 a.m. to 4:00 a.m., following the main Saturday dance with the Jonathan Stout Orchestra.  I know it’s late, but the dancing will be amazing all weekend, with 9 bands performing throughout the weekend – join us in DC the weekend of April 205-28, 2019!

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