This past weekend the hosts of Yehoodi‘s talk show Swing Nation hosted a live stream of the International Lindy Hop Championships, held in Washington, D.C. – the Mint Julep Jazz Band tune “Miami Boulevard” (penned by our very own Keenan McKenzie) was featured as the theme song for the broadcast! You can view archives of the broadcast on Justin.tv and check it out, as well as all of the world class Lindy Hop dancers in the competitions.
The Mint Julep Jazz Band is excited to be included in the lineup for The Art of Cool Project‘s concert series at LabourLove Gallery in Durham, North Carolina. We’ll be their featured band for the May 18, 2012 concert, but until then there are a lot of things going on with this jazz advocacy non-profit that may interest you.
What is The Art of Cool Project? From their website: “The Art of Cool Project is a jazz (also music with jazz roots) and art advocacy project that strives to cross artistic, economic, and cultural boundaries to bring together a diverse mix of people and creativity. We are dedicated to promoting the local vibrant, varied, and surprisingly under-appreciated music and art scene. The project is a unique collaboration between the music and art communities to bring both creative mediums to supporters in an intimate concert setting.”
The Art of Cool Project is a creative philanthropic project spearheaded by Mint Julep Jazz Band trumpeter, Albert Strong IV, and Cicely Mitchell, Al’s amazing girlfriend, social media guru, and jazz advocacy superwoman.
A recent addition to The Art of Cool Project’s website is a jazz calendar for the Triangle, which will include all forms of jazz and displays a running calendar that you can check to see what is happening this week, next month, and beyond. The Mint Julep Jazz Band will be submitting our public concerts to this list and we would encourage other Triangle area jazz groups to utilize this resource.
What can you do to support this worthwhile non-profit? A few things:
2) Donate to the Holiday Chair Campaign – thus far, the AOC Project has had to rent 80 chairs for each of their concerts. To keep costs down, they are running a Holiday Chair Campaign to raise money to buy chairs for the concert series. A donation of $40 will fund one the chairs and get your name (or name of a loved one or business) painted on the back of the chair as well as preferred seating for the concerts with RSVP.
4) Check the jazz calendar regularly and support the Art of Cool Project’s concert series (every third Friday of the month at LabourLove Gallery) and other local jazz artists.
5) Come to LabourLove Gallery on May 18 to hear 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.