Blog Archives

Live and Local in September

Fresh off Camp Hollywood, we’re ready for a couple of live shows on our home turf!  Catch us on these two dates:

UPDATE: SEPTEMBER 12 AND 15 ARE CANCELLED DUE TO HURRICANE FLORENCE, CARY’S PARK AFTER DARK SHOW IS RESCHEDULED FOR OCTOBER 3

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From a past performance for TSDS at the Carrboro Century Center, courtesy of Tiffany Brantner.

October 3, 2018 (rescheduled from the cancelled September 12, 2018) at The Town of Cary’s Park After Dark, Cary, NC – our first performance for the Town of Cary, we’ll send out the summer outdoor concert season in style.  We’ll be performing a free concert at Cary’s Downtown Park from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., bring a picnic dinner or pick up food from one of the local vendors at the event. For more information about food, parking, and weather updates, visit https://www.townofcary.org/recreation-enjoyment/events/special-events/park-after-dark.

September 15, 2018 at Triangle Swing Dance Society dance, Carrboro, NC – always happy to be playing on for dancers on the best dance floor in the Triangle, at the Carrboro Century Center.  Free beginner swing dance lesson at 7:00 p.m., we play from 8:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.  For more information, visit the TSDS website at www.triangleswingdance.org.

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Camp Hollywood 2018

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.

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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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Competition Music at Hot Rhythm Holiday

We performed the music for the finals of the Collegiate Shag Strictly and the Balboa Strictly at Hot Rhythm Holiday 2018, check out these amazing dancers and dig those tunes!

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

Duck Jazz Festival – October 7, 2017

-1The 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!

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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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!