Blog Archives

That New Old Sound – A Compilation Album to Benefit the ACLU

a2618128978_16Swing bandleader Glenn Crytzer wanted to do something to make a difference, so he had this idea of a compilation album of modern day swing and traditional jazz bands coming together to contribute music to benefit the American Civil Liberties Union.  After reaching out to 16 bands (including the Mint Julep Jazz Band!), fundraising, organizing the production of this album, and getting the blessing of the ACLU, the album is ready for purchase!  Pick up a copy of That New Old Sound on Bandcamp, either digital or physical, and if you order by December 17, he’ll ship it to you in time for Christmas – an extra $2.00 and he’ll even gift wrap it for you.  All the proceeds from the sale of this album go to the ACLU to support the defense and preservation of civil liberties

Who’s on this album?  Lots of swing and early jazz goodness from all over the United States, including, of course, Glenn Crytzer (New York), Tuba Skinny (New Orleans), Greg Ruby and the Rhythm Runners (Seattle), Dandy Wellington and his Band (New York), the Boilermaker Jazz Band (Pittsburgh), Jonathan Stout and his Campus Five (Los Angeles), Dan Levinson and his Canary Cottage Dance Orchestra (New York), Gordon Webster (New York), Mint Julep Jazz Band (Durham, NC), Mona’s Hot Four (New York), Solomon Douglas (Seattle/New York/a boat somewhere off the coast of Australia), the Grand Street Stompers (New York), Jonathan Doyle Swingtet (Austin/Chicago), Meschiya Lake and the Little Big Horns (New Orleans), George Gee Swing Orchestra (New York), and Baby Soda (New York).

We are excited to be a part of this compilation album, a great gift idea for any jazz lover or to give someone as a sampler of what’s going on with early jazz today, and to do a small part to contribute to the greater good.

Hot Rhythm Holiday 2016 – Austin, Texas

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On January 30, 2016, we return to the Lone Star State capital to perform at Hot Rhythm Holiday, a weekend of workshops and dances focusing on Balboa and Collegiate Shag and there’s a music track for people who want to learn more about performing jazz!  The events take place at the Texas Federation of Women’s Clubs (“the Fed”), a mansion built in 1931 with a gorgeous historic ballroom.  We are excited to return to Hot Rhythm Holiday for our second year!  And bring on the brisket!

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The ballroom at The Fed, taken at Hot Rhythm Holiday 2015

 

Audio: Mint Julep Jazz Band on The State of Things, December 11, 2015

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If you missed our interview with Frank Stasio and Mint Julep Quintet’s live performance on WUNC’s The State of Things on Friday, December 11, 2015, you can listen to the 17 minute segment on The State of Things’ website – scroll down to the middle of the page for the audio player and press play. http://wunc.org/post/mint-julep-jazz-band-recreates-early-jazz-battle-axe#stream/0

Also, as we noted on the show, please stay tuned for a very special announcement in April, 2016!

Videos from G2B Gastropub – “Egyptian Ella” and “Some of These Days”

What started out as a Mint Julep Quintet gig at G2B Gastro Pub on November 7, 2014 ended up a full-fledged Mint Julep Jazz Band for the second set – our regular tenor player Keenan McKenzie joined us from the audience and trumpet player Jason Bohde stopped by to sit in. Thanks to Keenan’s dad, Woody McKenzie, who filmed us and to Jack Mitchell for editing and uploading to YouTube! Check out “Egyptian Ella” and “Some of These Days” below:

The Process – July 18, 2014

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The Mint Julep Jazz Band will kick off the weekend festivities at The Process, a Lindy Hop workshop weekend in Richmond, Virginia on Friday, July 18, 2014 at 9:00 p.m. The Process is a new event, in its first year, and seeks to answer the question, “What is the process guiding Lindy Hoppers to rapid improvement?” in its workshops throughout the weekend. With a great lineup of instructors (Casey Schneider & Mike Faltesek; Jaya Dorf & Michael Gamble; Chelsea & David Lee; Mike Herring; Abigail Browning & Adam Speen; and Sparrow Pants) and live music by The Low Down Sires, 504 Supreme, and Gypsy Roots, it looks like it will be a rumpus in Richmond! For more information visit The Process website.

Videos from February 1, 2014 TSDS Dance

We are very excited to have some updated videos of the Mint Julep Jazz Band – thanks to Ashley Warren, our videographer, who got some great footage at our performance for the Triangle Swing Dance Society’s dance at the Murphey School in Durham on February 1! Six new videos posted below:

“Rockin’ in Rhythm” performed by the Mint Julep Jazz Band at the Triangle Swing Dance Society dance, February 1, 2014.

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“Betcha Nickel” performed by the Mint Julep Jazz Band at the Triangle Swing Dance Society dance, February 1, 2014.

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“Undecided” performed by the Mint Julep Jazz Band at the Triangle Swing Dance Society dance, February 1, 2014.

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“Sugarfoot Rag” performed by the Mint Julep Jazz Band at the Triangle Swing Dance Society dance, February 1, 2014.

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“Besame Mucho” performed by the Mint Julep Jazz Band at the Triangle Swing Dance Society dance, February 1, 2014.

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“Darktown Strutters Ball” (encore) performed by the Mint Julep Jazz Band at the Triangle Swing Dance Society dance, February 1, 2014.

Michael Steinman of Jazz Lives Reviews “Durham on Saturday Night”

Jazz writer and archivist Michael Steinman, author of the Jazz Lives blog, has written a great review of the Mint Julep Jazz Band’s “Durham on Saturday Night!”

“The MJJB is a small hot group — well-versed in playing for dancers, so they set swinging tempos and stick to them. Their ensemble work is beautifully precise without being stiff, and they really understand the subtle mysteries of swing rhythm…one of their main inspirations is youthful Ella Fitzgerald and the small group out of Chick Webb’s band — The Savoy Eight — and they evoke that sound perfectly without turning out pale note-for-note copies of the records. I heard evocations of Sandy Williams and Sidney Bechet, but also Al Grey and Howard McGhee.”

“Laura’s got her own sweet style with a serious rhythmic underpinning…her rich voice reminded me of young Ella — that hopeful, wistful, asking-for-love quality — but she can turn corners at a fast tempo, as she proves on the CD’s closer, the band’s romping version of Lil Armstrong’s HARLEM ON SATURDAY NIGHT.”

To read more, click here to view the post.

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Audio: Interview from WXDU’s Divaville Lounge

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If you missed the interview with Laura Windley and Lucian Cobb on WXDU from May 19, 2013, talking with Divaville Lounge host Sarah Ovenall about the band, the making of “Durham on Saturday Night,” and background on tracks from the album, you can listen to the hour-long broadcast (interview and tracks from the album) by clicking here. Enjoy!

Video of the Mint Julep Jazz Band at Festival for the Eno

We had a great time performing at the 2012 Festival for the Eno here in Durham, NC! Jessica Lamb captured the last number from our set on video, which we’ve posted below. Many thanks to everyone who braved the heat to come hear us perform!

Jazz, Swing, and the Mint Julep Jazz Band

The terms “jazz” and “swing” can conjure very different imagery and sounds, depending on who you ask. With that in mind, it can be difficult to describe the music we perform in the Mint Julep Jazz Band. When most people think of “jazz,” what usually comes to mind is smaller combos playing bebop, modern jazz, straight ahead jazz, or standards. The term “swing” tends to bring up thoughts of Glenn Miller’s recording of “In the Mood,” Benny Goodman’s recording of “Sing Sing Sing,” or even Louis Prima’s “Jump, Jive, and Wail.” While the understanding of these terms may be more of a pop culture reference to most, it’s kind of like saying all music from the 1970’s is disco, or all music from the 1980’s is new wave – the terms jazz and swing have a much broader definition, with jazz as the umbrella term and swing as a subset of jazz.

A packed Casino Ballroom at Catlina Island, CA, circa 1940, swing band in the distance, beyond the sea of people...

So where does the Mint Julep Jazz Band fit into swing and jazz?

Jazz, in its earliest form, originated in the early 20th century. In terms of a timeline, the Mint Julep Jazz Band doesn’t go all the way back to the beginning of jazz, but does pick up jazz shortly thereafter. In the 1920’s, jazz grew to prominence and began to gain mass appeal, thanks to the popularity of radio and enhancements in recording technology. The Mint Julep Jazz Band plays several arrangements of jazz tunes from this era, primarily from the late 1920’s.

Jazz continued to gain popularity into the 1930’s, and began to take on the name “swing.” Most of the music we play is from the 1930’s and early 1940’s, which was the height of the swing era. This music is still jazz and, at the time, was America’s pop music – it was the music that filled the dance halls and airwaves, it was trendy and was associated with youth culture. We believe this music was popular because it is so much fun – it’s toe-tapping music, has a great energy, and is a joy to perform.

Thus, it’s possible for us to be both a jazz band and a swing band because the terms overlap. We hope you’ll come to one of our shows and hear some of this music firsthand – even within early jazz and swing, there are different sounds and subsets to keep things interesting, and we think you’ll like what you hear!