dixieland

Events at Common 414

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I am excited to announce that the Mint Julep Jazz Band will be working with Common 414, a new 1920’s themed cocktail bar that has opened in Raleigh, NC – three upcoming events of note!

1) Friday, November 14, 2014, the Mint Julep Quintet will play from 8-11p.m. and at 10:00 p.m. we’ll be hosting and playing live music for a Charleston contest! Come show off your gams and your hot jazz moves – the winner of the Charleston contest gets a Mint Julep Jazz Band prize pack (CD, shoe bag, button) and a VIP Booth Package for Common 414 (a $250 value).

2) and 3) On two Sundays in January (11th and 25th), 2015 we begin what we hope will be a regular gig for the Mint Julep Jazz Band, so you can hear all this great music from the 1920’s, 30’s and 40’s performed by our little big band twice a month! We say we hope because continuation of this event depends on you voting to keep MJJB here with your feet and your wonderful presence. Band plays from 7-10 p.m., $5 cover because there are a lot of people in the band!

Thanks so much to Common 414 for giving us this opportunity, it’s rare to see bands this large with regular gigs and we’ll do our best to keep this one – swing out, Raleigh!

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October 24, 2013 – RDU Rent Party: Philly Invasion Edition featuring Perseverance Jazz Band

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On October 24th, the City of Brotherly Love is sending some love our way. No, we are not erecting a statue of Rocky (or Jason posing as Rocky) at TDS, but we will be getting some swing love in the form of the Perseverance Jazz Band.

This New Orleans inspired band has been keeping Philly dance floors hopping for some time now and is making a pilgrimage south which naturally has to include a stop at RDU Rent Party. They will also be christening the first Rent Party dance in the new Lindy Lab studio at TDS, meaning this is the first band that gets to start at 8 and not have to work their way around Salsa classes to setup. So they’ll be fresh and ready to come out swingin’ for a knockout of a dance.

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In addition, Ms. Breanna Perry, also of Philadelphia, will be accompanying the band, spinning tunes for the night and teaching a solo Charleston workshop from 7-8. So we’ll be forgoing the normal beginner lesson to give everyone a shot at picking up some of Breanna’s hot moves and we imagine there will be a multitude of Charleston jams accompanying the band at this dance.

Suggested price for the dance is $10 and a suggested additional $5 for the workshop which will be collected in a separate hat. As always, all money collected goes directly to the entertainers.

Triangle Dance Studio – Lindy Lab Studio (look for the orange door frame)
2603 S. Miami Blvd.
Durham, NC

Beginner solo Charleston lesson from 7-8 p.m.

Dance from 8-11 p.m.

What Jazz is Missing in the Triangle

I ran across a blog called LiveMusicNC.com and discovered a post called “10 Great Places to See Live Jazz (Plus One Great Show!).” I scanned the list, hoping for a scoop on where I might hear some stride piano, a dixieland group, or a swing band, and there was the same list of venues I check, week after week, that only book bebop, modern, or “straight ahead” jazz.

Clearly, we are not speaking the same language. Where is my jazz?

To say that I am disappointed with jazz in the Triangle is an understatement. This has been the norm, me being hopeful that someone will book one of the local, underrated jazz groups I love that play jazz from the 1920’s, 1930’s, and 1940’s, then being disappointed after reading local concert and venue listings. I have tried to get touring dixieland and swing bands gigs at some of these venues and at other venues that hire live music, but to no avail. I even promise an audience who will pay for the band in tips, and I still get no response.

There’s been a lot of lip service recently about jazz in the Triangle, but if the local venues are only offering a certain type of jazz or only booking certain musicians, is the scene really that vibrant?

What if there’s an entire subset of jazz lovers, new patrons, that you could draw to your venue if you added a few more bands to your lineup?

What if there’s an entire subset of talented jazz musicians you’ve never heard of because they rarely get a chance to play the music that really makes them shine?

MY POINT: We will not have a complete and vibrant jazz community without embracing all forms of jazz.

Jazz did not begin in 1950. There is an extensive, almost endless catalog of songs from the three prior decades that is full of life, energy, relevance, bliss, heartache, humor, love, affection, food, sex, and crazy people. This music is awesome in so many ways and, perhaps, should be performed live because sometimes the recording technology back then wasn’t up to modern snuff.

I want to hear it and I have friends who want to hear it. I’d love to be able to go out to something other than a swing dance and hear “Blues My Naughty Sweetie Gave to Me” or “Dinah” or “Rockin’ in Rhythm.” Can we do this, Triangle? I’ve got the people if you’ve got the space.

To help in understanding where I am coming from, I have compiled a list of reasons why your venue should book musicians who play 20’s, 30’s, and 40’s jazz:

FUN

What made the Roaring Twenties fun? It wasn’t just the booze, it was also the music – the two were almost inseparable. This music was made for parties, dance halls, brothels, bars, and just about every place your mother would disapprove of. It’s joyous music with an energy that can lift your spirits.

ACCESSIBLE

The jazz of the 1920’s, 30’s, and 40’s is pop music – it was the pop music of its time and, while it sounds somewhat different from today’s pop music, the two are not so far apart. It’s melodic and, for the most part, it has lyrics or is based on songs written with lyrics. It all has a driving rhythm, a certain pulse. Most of it is in a major key and in 4/4 time. I think we’ve met most of the criteria for pop music at this point, so your subconscious should at least warm up to the sound.

I don’t want to spend any time bashing modern jazz, I’ll just say it’s not my bag. It doesn’t speak to me the way earlier forms of jazz have spoken to me. Perhaps I just need something that’s simple to enjoy.

DANCE-ABLE

The jazz of the 1920’s through the 1940’s was dance music. In fact, a major divide between this era and the bebop/modern jazz era is that sensibility, that jazz transitioned from something that you danced to into something that you listened to – from the dance hall to the concert hall.

However, dancing isn’t the only function. Think about the music that we dance to today – people play “dance” music in bars and restaurants all the time, but you don’t necessarily get up and dance at those places. Early jazz music can create a similar energy in a room.

CLASSY

A lot of people book jazz groups to set a mood. Perhaps its the instrumentation or the songs themselves, but jazz is a class act. Early jazz can add a different tone of class, obviously harkening back to an earlier, perhaps even more genteel and elegant era of the silver screen, the lawn party, and the supper club. It can be a party, but it can also be a soiree, depending on the song selection.

ALL AGES

I see evidence of this mostly at live, outdoor events, but people of all ages love this music. Obviously the people who were there the first time around are fans, but kids immediately start going bananas when they hear an uptempo swing tune and try to get as close to the band as possible. Some of the most vocal fans of this music are from the Baby Boomers. As someone sort of spanning Gen X and Y, I’ve been listening to this music since I was a teenager and there are countless others just like me in cities all over the world, and even a few more like me here in the Triangle.

I’d like to make a difference for my friends who love this music or love to perform this music. I’d like to get excited about events and bands. I’d like to make the Triangle a great place for all kinds of jazz. There is certainly so much potential here, but there is still work left to do to bridge these musical gaps.

Sound Situations Episode 4 Featuring the Atomic Rhythm All-Stars Airs This Week

Episode 04 of Sound Situations featuring Birds and Arrows and the Atomic Rhythm All-Stars is set to air Thursday and Saturday at 6pm on Channel 10 of Raleigh Television Network! Web episode hits next week at http://www.soundsituations.com. We are excited to be featured on this fantastic documentary television show that highlights the music scene in the Triangle area of North Carolina. Stay tuned!

The Southside Stomp: Carolina Invasion with Atomic’s Trio and The Carolina Fascinators

This coming weekend I’ll be heading to Norfolk, Virginia for The Southside Stomp: Carolina Invasion swing dance on Saturday, May 21, 2011. The Atomic Rhythm All-Stars‘ trio offshoot, commonly known as George Knott’s Square Trio, will be playing the dance, with George Knott on Guitar, Mark Wells on piano, and Lucian Cobb on trombone. The Carolina Fascinators will also be debuting their new routine at this event, so this is all very exciting! Great jazz, a new performance, and a great dance hosted by Bill Speidel and Victor Celania.