2018-01-12 / Ticket

Concerts for a Cause series featuring Novel Jazz Septet

The Times Record


The UUCB Concerts for a Cause will take a “Novel” approach in its celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

The latest offering in the series will be a performance by the Novel Jazz Septet, featuring the music of Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn — civil rights activists, friends and favorite musicians of Martin Luther King Jr. — long with interesting stories about their relationship with Dr. King, their experiences with racism and homophobia, and how this affected their music and forged their promotion of civil rights.

The concert will take place at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 13, at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Brunswick, located at 1 Middle St.

The musicians of “Novel Jazz,” who hail from all over Maine, have been performing straight-ahead jazz around Maine and New England for over three decades. They draw from the Great American Songbook and specialize in the works of Ellington and Strayhorn.

A decade ago, they embarked on a project to go through the massive archive of compositions by the pair — who wrote about 2,500 pieces between them — transcribe some lesser-known gems for the band and reinterpret them with a 21st Century sound. The result: Three CDs and a special PBS interview about the project. In addition, several two-hour programs dedicated to Novel Jazz have been broadcast on Maine Public Radio’s jazz show, “Jazz Tonight” over the years.

Novel Jazz features Barney Balch (tenor, alto and soprano trombone), Mike Mitchell (trumpet, cornet and flugelhorn), Sean Potter (alto saxophone), Bill Manning (drums), Herb Maine (bass), David Clarke (guitar) and Mickey Felder (piano).

Novel Jazz Septet will play some of the rare numbers from the Ellington Band between the 1920s-1960s, along with the classic jazz standards jazz written by these iconic composers. Many of the tunes were written to feature the many instruments of the Ellington orchestra. The instrumental configuration of the Novel Jazz septet — three horns with a four-piece rhythm section — was Ellington’s favorite small band combination for those times when he wasn’t composing for the 18-piece orchestra.

Proceeds from the Concerts for a Cause series raises money for church programming and local charities. In the past two years, the concerts series has raised more than $18,000 for local charities.

General admission tickets are $15 in advance or $18 at the door; the cost for students and children is $8. Tickets may be purchased at the church office, call (207) 729- 8515, Gulf of Maine Books or online at noveljazz.brownpapertickets.com.

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