I’m excited to be profiled in the August 2020 issue of The Syncopated Times by UK writer, dancer, early jazz enthusiast, and Annette Hanshaw fan Dave Doyle. I suppose even without the pandemic we might have had to conduct this interview via FaceTime or Zoom, but it was lovely to connect with someone across the pond and to be featured in The Syncopated Times, one of very few publications focused on ragtime and pre-bop jazz. Enjoy!
One of the silver linings to the pandemic is that there are lots of opportunities to listen to music, both online and from my collection – let’s combine the two, shall we?
On Thursday, July 30, 2020 I’ll be taking another spin for the Global Online Social, an ongoing pandemic music series that runs every Thursday featuring swing DJs from around the globe. Tune in from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. EDT for my set, tune in all day starting at 1 p.m. EDT for even more music.
Watch on twitch:
On Sunday, August 9, 2020, I’ll be the featured DJ for Swing it Blue!, a series of Zoom parties featuring swing/blues DJs spinning tunes while participants (maybe you?) handwrite letters to swing-state voters who are likely to vote Democrat asking them to vote in the upcoming election. This method has been proven to be one of the most effective means increasing voter participation and many of the letter recipients will be from historically underrepresented groups. I’ll be DJ’ing for the letter writing party on August 9 from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. EDT. For more information, visit the Facebook invite (for my date) or the Facebook group and its About page/FAQs (more general information and all the dates/invites)
If you love Keenan McKenzie’s original tunes and arrangements on the Mint Julep Jazz Band albums, you can now get even more of this great music in your life – Keenan is releasing a brand new album of original swing music written by the maestro himself called Forged in Rhythm, available now for preview and pre-order on Bandcamp and full release coming December 5! I am excited that Keenan decided to write 7 original vocal tunes (in addition to the 8 instrumental tunes) and invited me to sing on his debut release – what a magical thing to be the first to sing a song! We had such fun recording this album in Los Angeles in August and I’ve been eagerly anticipating sharing this album with all of you.
Here’s Keenan’s post about the album release:
“If you’d asked me a few years ago, I wouldn’t have imagined my first album would be 15 radio-length songs, all in 4/4 time. I now owe so much to the dance community that it’s hard to imagine it going any other way. Swing music has provided some unforgettable experiences and introduced me to a world of wonderful people, including Allison Meeks (you make my heart go thump thump thump!)
I’m thrilled to announce the upcoming release of FORGED IN RHYTHM. This album of original tunes is a celebration of my favorite ‘30s/‘40s musicians and a love letter to the swing dance scene. I got to work with some phenomenal players and great friends, and we had a blast making this record. I can’t wait for you to hear it!
Artwork and design by Ryan Calloway Art
Available December 5th on Bandcamp, CD Baby, iTunes, Amazon and more!”
As a child of coastal North Carolina, I take hurricanes very seriously, so my next travel update is pending the chosen path of Hurricane Irma. This weekend, which should occur without being affected, I’ll be singing with Michael Gamble and the Rhythm Serenaders on September 8 and 9, 2017 at the Knoxville Lindy Exchange! In its 17th year, I look forward to singing and also DJ’ing at the late night dances.
My next bit of travel is more uncertain – if all goes well, I’ll be flying to Boston to perform at Let’s Dance Boston on September 13, 2017 with Michael Gamble and the Rhythm Serenaders for one night of dancing to swing music with an outdoor stage and dance pavillion.
First and foremost is safety – everyone stay safe if you are in Irma’s path!
My first Lindyfest was two years ago where I served as the Balboa DJ for competitions, a special Bal dance, and I even DJ’ed some for Lindy Hop. 😉 This long-running workshop weekend is a huge event in Houston, Texas and I’m delighted that they have invited me back to be the Balboa DJ again and sing two nights with the Jonathan Doyle Swingtet! This will be my first time performing with his group, after I first performed with Jonathan at the Nevermore Jazz Ball in St. Louis this past November as part of Michael Gamble and the Rhythm Serenaders, and I’m excited to be working with an amazing group of Austin musicians lead by this powerhouse reed man. World class instruction, the Lone Star Championships, great live and DJ’ed music, and I see that Sugar Sullivan will be joining us! Come to Texas and dance!
Thanks so much to Michael Steinman of the Jazz Lives blog for this detailed and wonderful review of Battle Axe! The Mint Julep Jazz Band is delighted to be included on his blog, with his thoughtful research and review of the many jazz giants performing traditional jazz of yesteryear and of today.
If you love traditional jazz and swing, I would recommend following Michael’s blog (*ahem* swing DJs) – it is comprehensive, updated regularly, and features wonderful artists, both new and old. Michael’s dedication to the research, review, and enjoyment of this music and the artists definitely shows in his writing.