Novel Jazz celebrates ‘JAM’ at Skidompha
Jazz Appreciation Month (a.k.a. “JAM”) was started at the Museum of American History at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. almost two decades ago to highlight and celebrate the extraordinary heritage and rich history of jazz. JAM happens every April and is intended to stimulate and encourage people of all ages to participate in jazz and to study the music, attend live concerts, listen to jazz on radio and recordings, read books about jazz, and more.
Novel Jazz will celebrate JAM at the Skidompha Public Library atrium, in Damariscotta on Friday, April 27 from 7-9:30 p.m., for an evening of music from the Great American Songbook – just two days before Duke Ellington’s birthday. So you can be sure that Novel Jazz will sprinkle a good dose of the Duke into their evening.
This year the band has moved their Skidompha jazz dates to Friday nights (were Thursday nights for the past 13 years). The history of Novel Jazz and Skidompha began with the observation that lovers of books often are lovers of jazz. The superb acoustics of Skidompha’s atrium, plus the seating “in the round,” make it a superior place to see and hear jazz, all in a relaxed, informal atmosphere.
It was while performing at Skidompha that the band decided to forge deeper into the music of Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn. Trombonist Barney Balch began visiting the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C. to work in their world renowned “Ellington Collection,” digging out gems of these musical geniuses and bringing them back to life in concerts around New England.
The musicians of this group have been playing straight-ahead jazz for audiences throughout Maine (and beyond) for several decades. Novel Jazz plays a combination of jazz styles, all held together by a strong dose of swinging rhythms and soulful blues. As for the line-up on 27 April, the rhythm section will consist of Mickey Felder (piano), Herb Maine (acoustic bass), Dave Clark (guitar), and Bill Manning (drums), and horn section: Mike Mitchell (trumpet), Barney Balch (trombone) and David Harris (reeds).
Harris is the newest member of the consortium and 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. Currently, David is finishing up a Master’s of Music in Jazz at the University of Southern Maine where he is studying saxophone with Barry Saunders and composition with Chris Klaxton.
Skidompha library is located at 184 Main Street, Damariscotta. Admission is $15, $13/seniors (65+), $7/young adults 12-18, under 12 accompanied by a parent attend free. For more information, call 563-5513 or visit www.skidompha.org and www.mainejazz.net.