This past week the Mint Julep Jazz Band launched a Kickstarter campain for their first CD, “Durham on Saturday Night.”
The Mint Julep Jazz Band is a Durham, North Carolina-based 8 piece swing band that was created to be a dance band for swing dancers – purveyors of fine, classic swing music, if you will.
I am Laura Windley, the vocalist for the Mint Julep Jazz Band and an avid Lindy Hopper and Balboa dancer. We are hoping to reach our funding goal of $6,000 through crowd-funding and pre-sales of our CD:
Christian Bossert, a fellow Balboa DJ I had the pleasure of working with at All Balboa Weekend, started this wonderful resource website for DJs and, as a DJ, I find it important to know about the musicians in each band, the music they perform, and all the components that make these particular bands great.
The Mint Julep Jazz Band is in a unique position of being a very new band with very experienced and knowledgeable bandleaders who know a lot about the dance community – however, the dance community at large is only beginning to know who we are.
Mint Julep Jazz Band And Their Relation To The Swing Dance Community
I sat down to write some propaganda about supporting our Kickstarter, but we have very little to show since this is our first recording endeavor, so I thought it better to let you get to know who we are, what we are trying to do, and how other people who have heard the band have responded to our music.
We performed at the Eastern Balboa Championships this past Friday and I think our sound is pretty well summed up by some of the wonderful feedback I received from the attendees and instructors. One person told me she had described it as swing music created by a swing dancer for swing dancers.
Like Glenn Crytzer, Solomon Douglas, Gordon Webster, and others, I am a dancer as a well as a musician and co-bandleader with my husband, trombonist Lucian Cobb. I have the added bonus of being a DJ, so much of our music is directly from my favorite music to DJ.
An instructor said our sets sounded like the playlist she made for her Balboa class, which was a fantastic compliment. Another instructor said it was a joy to find another true swing band. Someone else mentioned that the range of tempos was perfect, which made the DJ in me all warm and fuzzy inside.
We are very familiar with the music of other bands who play for swing dancers, so we have taken that to heart in what we do and tried to fill some gaps, both in the size of the band and in the music we perform.
I see a lot of smaller groups, 5-6 piece bands that play tunes in a combo or dixieland format, and 10+ orchestras that have wonderful charts. We fall somewhere in the middle, with some flexibility either way, but mostly perform the arrangements Lucian writes.
We have selected songs that we love, that he loves, that I know dancers will love (that other bands may not be performing) and the result is this wonderful band. You will definitely hear the music of Duke Ellington, Chick Webb, Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw, Lil Hardin Armstrong, John Kirby, and other great jazz age and swing era artists on this CD.
Lucian Cobb: Co-bandleader, Trombonist and Arranger
I'm going to brag on Lucian for a bit and mention that he has toured with the Boilermaker Jazz Band, performed with Glenn Crytzer's Blue Rhythm Band, and toured and recorded with Solomon Douglas' 10 piece band.
He was with the Boilermakers this past year at DCLX on Sunday night, which was one of the swinging-est, hottest nights of dancing I've had in a while, which eventually led to the Boilermakers playing in Korea in September (which Lucian missed out on because Mint Julep had a gig – he may never get over this).
He joined an all-star lineup at the Hawkeye Swing Festival this past April. You will be able to hear him at this year's Lindy Focus with Solomon, Glenn, and one of Ben Polcer's groups. All this to say that my co-bandleader and husband has some serious chops and experience performing for dancers, though he is not a dancer himself.
The rest of our musicians are local and we wanted to be sure that we had as regular a lineup as is possible in the jazz world. It is important to us that this band not only swings, but is tight. Durham is sort of uniquely situated near several jazz programs – East Carolina University, North Carolina Central University, and UNC Greensboro, to name a few sources of our musicians, and we are lucky that almost all of our band is comprised of full-time, professional musicians. The two exceptions are the bandleaders! We both have day jobs that are outside of the music industry.
Support Our Kickstarter Campaign
This was probably a bit long-winded, but if you have never heard of us or never heard our music, you may wonder about our ties to the dance community and want to know more background information before considering contributing to our first Kickstarter.
We have no professional recordings, this is our first CD, so there's a bit of a leap of faith here in deciding whether or not to support a new band's Kickstarter campaign. We hope that you do and hope that we will have the opportunity to deliver a CD with music that you want to dance to – maybe someday soon you will be able to dance to our music in person!
Here's the link again, thanks so much for your consideration:
Mint Julep Jazz Band Kickstarter Campain
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