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Novel Jazz Septet - Celebrating Billy Strayhorn
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Novel Jazz Septet - Celebrating Billy Strayhorn
Novel Jazz Septet

Novel Jazz Septet is a Maine-based group, now in their 15th year of concerts around Maine and New England. Their mission is to share the music and stories of the iconic Duke Ellington and his equally iconic musical collaborator, Billy Strayhorn, who together wrote some 3000 compositions over their musical careers, two percent of which represents the well-known standards and 98% of which most have never heard. For this show at Cadenza, they will be celebrating the 104th birthday of Billy Strayhorn, Duke Ellingtons alter ego, and the prodigy behind Dukes music.  Theyll perform an all-Strayhorn evening with standard tunes out of the Strayhorn repertoire plus newly arranged compositions that they have unearthed in the Archives of the Smithsonian Museum of American History in Washington D.C., some of which have not been heard in decades. The band has rearranged these pieces for the septet, dusted them off and given them a 21st century sound, all of their own.

The Band

Barney Balch-Tenor, Alto and Soprano Trombone; Barney has played in many bands from Maine, Massachusetts, New York, California, and Florida. Barney began his jazz career in Boston in the mid-1970s with Craig Ball, Dave McMillan and Jimmy Mazzy. In 1978 he began performing with veteran stride pianist, Bob Page and the Downeast Jazz Babies (including blues guitarist, TJ Wheeler and bassist Dick Cash). In 1980 Barney moved to Southern California and studied with the Kansas City Blues Trombonist, Jimmy Cheatham (veteran of Duke Ellington, Lionel Hampton, and Thad Jones orchestras). Barney has performed with John Best (original lead trumpet with the Glenn Miller Orchestra), Al Hall (bassist with Benny Goodman, Erroll Garner), the great stride pianist, Don Ewell (member of the Jack Teagarden band), Francine Reed (of the Lyle Lovett Band) and numerous other big bands. Since returning  to Maine in the mid 1990s, Barney has had the good fortune to play with some of Northern New England's "swinging-est" jazz musicians: Along with Novel Jazz, Barney performed with Dick Creeden, Muriel Havenstein,  Lefty McAuslin, Henry Berry, Bob Page, Pete Collins, Ken Gaspar,  Bill Friederich, Nat Balch (Barney's big brother), Dave Page, Jack Tukey to name just a few.   Barney lives for playing Ellington, Strayhorn, Basie, Goodman, Waller, Gershwin, Porter and more.  The bottom line is, if it swings, he plays it!  Along with performing with the Novel Jazz Septet, Barney spends his spare time mining original manuscripts from the Duke Ellington Collection at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. and arranging them for the band.

Mike Mitchell-Trumpet, Cornet, Flugelhorn; Mike Mitchell has been playing trumpet since his childhood days in the eastern Maine town of Calais.  He studied at both the University of Maine at Augustas Jazz Studies program and the University of Miamis Jazz program. He studied trumpet with Chuck Winfield (of Blood, Sweat and Tears), Don Stratton, and Bob McCoy.  Although the music of Miles Davis and Chet Baker strongly influences his playing, Mikes musical interests and experiences range broadly from traditional New Orleans to the outer limits of Ornette Coleman and Lennie Tristano.  He is also an avid student of the music of Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn, frequently contributing arrangements of their material for the Novel Jazz Septet.  

David Harris - Reeds; Reed man and composer David Harris has performed all around New England.  In his early years, he received the top score at the  New Hampshire Jazz Allstate Festival for tenor saxophone.  After deciding to pursue a career in music, David attended the University of New Hampshire where he received a Bachelor of Music in Performance.  As a student at UNH, David has studied with Dave Seiler and Nate Jorgensen as well as performed with guest artists such as Joel Frahm, Wycliffe Gordon, BobbyShew, Bobby Watson, and Donny McCaslin.  Currently, David is finishing up a Masters of Music in Jazz at the University of Southern Maine where he is studying saxophone with Barry Saunders and composition with Chris Klaxton.  

Bill Manning - Drums; Bill attended Boston's Berklee College of Music on scholarship, and earned a B.A. in Music from University of Southern Maine. He is currently the Percussion Instructor and Director of the jazz ensembles in Scarborough and maintains a private teaching studio at The Drum Shop in Portland. He is a seasoned drummer and percussionist, with over 30 years experience and has a wide variety of musical experiences and genres.  Bills list of personnel who he has worked with reads like a whos who of jazz musicians.
Herb Maine-Bass; Herb Maine has been a well-known acoustic bassist in the New England region for the past three decades.  Originally from North Reading, MA, Herb began playing bass and tuba in the school system there and was playing professionally at age 15. He attended college at Lowell State University majoring in performance.  Along with Novel Jazz, he plays regularly around Maine with pianists Mickey Felder and Kenny Gaspar.  He has also performed with the late great trumpeter, Herb Pomeroy.  Herb resides with his family on Great Chebeague Island off of mid-coast Maine.

David Clarke- Guitar; David Quick" Clarke began his musical quest on the ukelele at age 3. He started clarinet in the 5th grade, and got serious with the guitar at age 12. At 13 he was performing gigs, and played in the pit band for Waterville Opera House' production of "Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris." He did a four year stint with the Air Force Band, playing in rock and jazz ensembles in Mississippi, touring the southern coast; the Philippines, touring Japan, Korea, Okinawa, Guam and Hawaii; and at Travis Air Force Base in California. He moved back to Maine in 1986, opening up David's Music, a local retail store where he taught music lessons and performed in local bands. He started a band called DC-3, which won the Belfast Bay Festival Battle of the Bands three years running. Over the next 25 years he has played with such bands as Faceplant, Tonto Lavec, The Willy Kelly Band, The Hemmens, The Bel-Isle Trio/Quintet, and The Elevator Pilots. He completed his Bachelors in Music Education from UMA and UMO in 1995.

Mickey Felder-Piano; Mick Felder can't remember when he wasn't playing the piano. Mick Felder studied classical piano in New York with Charles Ragusa, and jazz with Charlie Banacos and Scott Oakley. At age fifteen, his first professional group "The J-Five" performed jazz standards in New York's Catskill Mountains. During the late 60's he took a musical detour into folk music, playing guitar and singing in small clubs in New York. Moving to Maine in 1971, he and four other talented musicians formed the popular bluegrass band "Wild Mountain Thyme" which performed throughout the state for many years. Mick returned to jazz in the late 70's and has been performing in concerts, clubs and restaurants throughout Maine ever since.

Tickets are $18.00 in advance and $20.00 at the door.


Cadenza (View)
5 Depot Street
United States



Kid Friendly: Yes!
Dog Friendly: No
Non-Smoking: Yes!
Wheelchair Accessible: Yes!


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