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School of Hard Knox – March 23-24, 2018

22730119_1423315634384476_5301930625398209716_nI’ll be Knoxville-bound soon enough, but this is an extra special weekend because Michael Gamble and the Rhythm Serenaders Orchestra will have its debut performance at the Saturday night main dance at School of Hard Knox!  If you’ve been following the transcriptions projects and Indiegogo.com campaigns for Chick Webb, Jimmie Lunceford, and (soon to be launched) Lionel Hampton, you’ll know that Michael has spearheaded this endeavor and has all these great big band charts that should really continue to be heard outside of once a year at Lindy Focus.  It is my understanding that his new orchestra will be a showcase for these charts and bandleaders, so that more people can hear them, learn about them, and spread the love to other bandleaders, educators, music lovers, dancers, really anyone who may take an interest in this music.  Michael will probably also have some other things up his sleeve, so this will, at least in part, be a surprise for me as well!

If you are interested in learning more about what charts are available right now, visit the Heritage Sounds website – we are still in the process of clearing licenses for many more arrangements (which takes a long time), so stay tuned!

If you are interested in dancing, come take classes and dance at School of Hard Knox – there’s a stellar instructor lineup for the weekend, great DJs, and shenanigans to be had!

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Bal-ast Off – August 5-6, 2016

5543c7_2e234bd344984272978794cf676f4057-mv2Huntsville, Alabama plays host to one of the most sought-after Balboa tickets in the Southeast, due to the desire to keep this event an intimate experience at unique local venues and the resulting attendance cap.  I hope you’ve already got your ticket for Bal-ast Off the weekend of August 5-7, 2016!  I’ll be singing with Michael Gamble and the Rhythm Serenaders on Friday and Saturday nights, and I’ll also be DJ’ing throughout the weekend.  Join us in Rocket City for a weekend of excellent Balboa instruction, competing, and dance music!

Lindy Focus 2014 – Five Nights with the Jonathan Stout Orchestra

It’s not every day that you get to sing with a big band, much less FIVE NIGHTS of big band music! This year I return to Lindy Focus to lend my vocals to the Jonathan Stout Orchestra, which will be featuring the music of a different bandleader each night of the event – Count Basie, Artie Shaw, Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman, and New Year’s Eve will feature all the other great tunes in Jonathan’s big band book. The lineup of musicians has been referred to as a “murderer’s row” of jazz/swing musicians and I’m delighted to be among their ranks – to have the opportunity to work with all of them and perform for so many wonderful dancers is such a joy! I’ll also be lending my DJ skills to the late night Balboa room – see you soon!

Singing with the Jonathan Stout Orchestra at Lindy Focus, New Year's Even 2013.  Photo courtesy of Mike Thibault.

Singing with the Jonathan Stout Orchestra at Lindy Focus, New Year’s Eve 2013. Photo courtesy of Mike Thibault.

Jammin’ on the James – October 17-19, 2014

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For my birthday weekend I’ll be heading north to our sister scene in Richmond, Virginia to DJ for the 12th annual Jammin’ on the James – a weekend of Lindy Hop workshops and dances in one of my favorite venues, the Lewis Ginter Recreation Association. This year’s instructors are Marie Mattsson, Skye Humphries, Naomi Uyama, Peter Strom and live music provided by Naomi & Her Handsome Devils, the Blue Crescent Syncopators, and the Doctors of Jazz. Not to mention all the excellent vintage shopping – come check out this cool city and swing out with us!

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.

FAQ About 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.

The Best of Our State at Pinehurst

The Atomic Rhythm All-Stars are looking forward to playing at the historic Pinehurst Resort on August 6, 2011 for Our State Magazine‘s “The Best of Our State,” an event that is “a celebration of North Carolina music, history, humor, art, and food.” Atomic is appearing as part of a weekend of special events at the Pinehurst Resort, featuring storyteller Donald Davis, author Michael Parker, historian Dr. Tom Hanchett, singer/songwriter Laurelyn Dossett, author Libby Bagby, author Diane Daniel, and artist/musician William McNeill. For more information on the weekend, visit the Our State Magazine website: http://www.ourstate.com/events/pinehurst