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-1970’s 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, 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 studying original manuscripts from the Duke Ellington Collection at the Smithsonian and the Strayhorn Collection at the Library of Congress, both in Washington, D.C. and arranging them for the band.
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. When not musically involved, Bill enjoys spending time with his wife Pat, dog Sasha and is an avid fisherman.
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.
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 Augusta’s Jazz Studies program and the University of Miami’s 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, Mike’s 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. Beyond music, Mike is a behavioral healthcare administrator and clinician with a passion for family, fly fishing and good barbecue.
David Harris - Reeds; David began performing professionally at various venues in downtown Portsmouth, NH while attending college at the University of New Hampshire. Upon graduating with an undergraduate degree in Music Performance, David took a semester off to study with Boston saxophonist Tucker Antell before attending grad school in the spring at the University of Southern Maine. While in grad school, David led his own group which focused on fusing jazz with electronic influences. It was with this group that David recorded his first album with titled Earthling Questions. After finishing his master’s in Jazz Studies, David joined the Novel Jazz Septet and began playing the music of Duke Ellington in concert halls throughout Maine. It was also during this time that David was filling in as a substitute saxophonist with the Portland Jazz Orchestra. David continues to perform with a variety of jazz combos and rock bands and has had the opportunity to perform in notable clubs such as The House of Blues, Blue, The Press Room, and Cadenza.
Photo credits: Mickey Felder and David Clarke (Peggy McKenna Photography, Montville, ME); Barney Balch and Michael Mitchell (Mason Smith photography, Cape Elizabeth, ME); David Harris (photographer unknown); Bill Manning (credit- Will Wohler Photography); and Herb Maine (Tara Karczewski-Mitchell, Vassleboro, ME).