Join us on June 10, 2023 from noon to 3:00 p.m. for an afternoon of picnicking, dancing, and relaxing on the lawn at Durham’s Orchard Park, with live music by your hosts, the Mint Julep Jazz Band. Inspired by the Jazz Age Lawn Party in New York and similar events in Boston and Richmond, this began as a socially distanced event in 2021 to great success following a long pandemic winter. Now an annual event, the Orchard Park Jazz Picnic draws jazz fans, vintage enthusiasts, regional swing dancers, and passersby who decide to derail that dog walk and join the fun.
This event is free and open to the public. We will have a virtual and physical tip jar for the band – if you’d like to tip in advance, you can Venmo to @Laura-Windley or PayPal to email@example.com.
In the event of inclement weather, all updates will be posted in the Facebook event. If we have to cancel, this event will be rescheduled for a later date.
Thanks so much to Alexandrea Lassiter of Copper Key Photo for the incredible photos from last year!
If you’ve purchased either of our albums – Durham on Saturday Night or Battle Axe – consider leaving us a review! We’d love to hear your thoughts on our music and I know people who may be considering picking up a copy would love to hear your thoughts, too.
We’re excited to share with you the wonderful photographs New York photographer, dancer, DJ, and podcast host Ryan Swift took of the Mint Julep Jazz Band performing at Lincoln Center’s Midsummer Night Swing! He was limited to the press area and public areas in terms of where he could take photographs and we think he did an amazing job, even with these limitations. Here are a few of our favorites below and you can see the entire set on his Flickr page.
We are back for a second year at the Grand Taste Experience at the Durham Armory, hosted by Taste The Event 2016, which is also hosting a series of wonderful events kicking off with the this event on April 21, 2016 and continuing through the weekend! We’d love for you to join us, but this event is sold out! Make plans to attend next year, this event is touted as the “culinary experience of the year” and allows you to “spend the evening with hundreds of guests savoring dishes created by 30 of the best chefs in North Carolina. Also on hand are local beverage makers, producing outstanding craft beer, soda, coffees and spirits. And we’ve rounded up our chefs’ favorite distributors to bring you wine from around the world to educate your palate.” It is essentially the most delicious, fanciest, foodiest all you can eat buffet you’ll encounter in the Triangle!
We are excited to be joining forces with Taste for the Grand Taste Experience at the Durham Armory, April 23, 2015, for an evening of live music and enough delicious food from the best chefs and beverage makers in the region to leave you “Thanksgiving full.” Pack your appetite and your listening ears (maybe even your dance shoes, if you aren’t too full) for this smorgasbord at a fantastic historic venue.
This is the first time the Mint Julep Jazz Band has performed at the Durham Armory and we are excited to grace the same stage as jazz greats, such as Ella Fitzgerald, The Ink Spots, and Cootie Williams, who performed there in the 1940’s.
We are looking forward to this special performance for RDU Rent Party on January 10, 2013 – we’re not exactly going back to the future, but we will give you a full preview of all the songs we are recording for our album in the second set! Polish up your dance shoes and come swing out to the tunes that will make up “Durham on Saturday Night.”
Triangle Dance Studio, back studio
2603 S. Miami Blvd.
Band plays 9:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m.
Admission: Pay what you can with a $10.00 suggested donation
It’s our last show of the year and we are delighted to be performing for the Triangle Swing Dance Society for their election/potluck dance. To usher in the season, we’ll be performing a couple of Christmas tunes in our set. Come dance off all the turkey you ate last week!
We are excited to return to Carrboro for the Mint Julep Jazz Band show on June 16, 2012 at the Triangle Swing Dance Society swing dance, held at the Carrboro Century Center. Come dance on the finest sprung wood floor in the Triangle! Don’t know how to dance? No problem! There’s a beginner lesson at 7:00 p.m. that is included with the price of admission.
Carrboro Century Center
100 N. Greensboro Street
Beginner east coast swing lesson – 7:00 p.m.
Band plays from 8:00-11:00 p.m.
Admission: Members/students $8.00, general admission $12.00
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.
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!