Upcoming Concerts

Novel Jazz Septet Concerts, 2024 

June 18, 2024

Dear Friends of Novel Jazz...

    We made it!  Spring is here!  I wanted to share what we are planning for Novel Jazz in 2024.  We are delighted to announce that this is our 20th season, our "vicennial", of sharing jazz around New England!  This all started from very humble beginnings in 2004, when we started doing regular public jazz concerts at the Skidompha Public Library in Damariscotta, as a way to keep jazz alive in mid-coast Maine.  The musicians of Novel Jazz collectively share over two centuries of experience with the jazz idiom.   So it came as some surprise when, at one of these Skidompha concerts, someone requested yet another Duke Ellington or Billy Strayhorn song that no one had ever heard of.  This prompted yours truly to ask the naive question, "I wonder how many songs Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn wrote?"   The answer to this is, "Thousands!",  which launched us on the quest to explore this music.  This led me to the Smithsonian Museum of American History in Washington, D.C., which houses >400 book-boxes of the Duke Ellington Collection.  Musical gravity then pulled me across D.C. to the Strayhorn Collection, housed at the Library of Congress, to view musical manuscripts by Billy Strayhorn.   Both libraries house original manuscripts of well-known and lesser-known compositions by both composers. Novel Jazz musicians study these manuscripts, plus listen to unearthed recordings, arrange the pieces for the septet, rehearse and perform these compositions for audiences around Maine and New Hampshire during the spring, summer and fall.   

I'm happy to report here that we are still doing it!  It is also worthy of note that 2024 marks 125 years since Duke Ellington’s birth (i.e. his quasquicentennial”…yep, that is a real word!).   So, there are lots of reasons to celebrate these two icons of jazz in 2024 as well as grooving on the auspicious planetary alignment of  Duke's quasquicentennial and Novel's vicennial!   This doesn't happen every year!  I attach our current schedule below.  We'd love to see you at our performances this season!  As always, thanks for supporting live jazz in Maine!


Barney Balch

2024 NJS Performances (be sure to watch this space for other follow-on dates.  Always check with venues in advance to confirm details).

Sat               4/27/24        Hill Arts, Munjoy Hill, Portland, ME 7PM

Fri            6/28/24        Skidompha Public Library, Damariscotta, ME  7:00PM

Mon         7/8/24          Picnic Shelter; Sounds by the Sea Summer Concert Series, Ft 

Williams, Cape Elizabeth, ME        6:00PM

Thursday     7/18/24        Private function, Boothbay Harbor

Sun          7/21/24        Mailly Waterfront Park, Bowdoinham, 6PM

Fri            8/23/24        Saco River Theatre, Bar Mills, ME 7:30PM

Sat               9/21/24        Freeport Meetinghouse Arts, Freeport, ME   7PM

Sat           9/28/24        Old South Church, 235 Main Street, Farmington, ME; 7:00PM; Ellington and Strayhorn Show


Sun              9/29/24        Old South Church, 235 Main Street, Farmington, ME; 9:30-10:30AM; Sunday Church Service; Ellington/Strayhorn Religious Music


Sat               11/23/24      UU Concerts for a Cause, Unitarian Universalist Church of Brunswick, ME  7:30PM


Other performances by Barney and Friends

Sunday 7/14/24                   Church Service w/ Paul English and friends, Methodist Church; “Satchmo Mass”,  Chebeague Island, ME

Friday  7/26/24                    Private Wedding, Thomaston,  ME; 5:30PM

Sunday 7/28/24                   Church Service, Boothbay Congregational Church, Boothbay Harbor, ME 10AM

Saturday 8/10/24                Private Wedding, Phippsburg, ME; 3:30PM

Friday  9/6/24                      Poland Spring, ME (Annual fundraiser for Androscoggin Home Health & Hospice; Poland Spring Resort) 5:30-7:30 (https://andwell.org/get-involved/ano/ )