At Phippsburg Congregational Church


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Friday, September 22, at 7:30 p.m. 

Celebrating the music of Great American Jazz

The Novel Jazz Septet will celebrate the music of great American jazz icons Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn in concert at the Phippsburg Congregational Church on Friday, September 22, at 7:30 p.m.  The band will highlight well-known standards of the musical legends, plus rare vintage gems recently unearthed from original scores from the Duke Ellington collection at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C.

For a number of years now, Novel Jazz Septet has been mining the rich musical collections of these jazz giants, a partnership that resulted in about 3000 original compositions.Through regular trips to the Ellington Collection at the Smithsonian and to the Strayhorn Collection at the University of Chicago, band leader Barney Balch has located original scores of their lesser-known and rarely recorded compositions, which the band studies and arranges for performance. Balch says It is not uncommon to find their writings, poetry and personal letters mixed in amongst the music in the Smithsonian archives, all of which we weave into the stories of each tune. We relish bringing this music back to lifebut we do it with a 21st century spin. Balancing out the rarities will be plenty of classics associated with Ellington and/or Strayhorn -  an astonishing canon that includes Lush Life, Take The A Train, Sophisticated Lady, Mood Indigo, and It Dont Mean A Thing (If It Aint Got That Swing).

The ensemble has played many key New England venues and festivals including the Boothbay Opera House, Portlands One Longfellow Square, Portsmouths Press Room, Ellsworths Grand Theatre, Frontier Theatre, the University of Maine, the Deer Island Jazz Festival, Machias Bay Chamber Concert Series and has been featured in performance four times on Rich Toziers MPBN jazz show.

The group is composed of seasoned players with rich jazz resumés. Band leader Balch has played in bands from Maine, Massachusetts, New York, California, and Florida.  He studied with trombonist Jimmy Cheatham, a veteran of orchestras led by Duke Ellington, Lionel Hampton, and Thad Jones.  He has also performed with musicians hailing from ensembles led by jazz greats Glenn Miller, Erroll Garner, Benny Goodman, and Jack Teagarden.

The rest of the accomplished band includes Dave Clarke (guitar), Mickey Felder (piano), Herb Maine (acoustic bass), Mike Mitchell (trumpet, cornet, and flugelhorn), Bill Manning (drums) and Sean Potter (Alto Saxophone).

The historic Phippsburg Congregational Church is located at 10 Church Lane (at Parker Head Rd.) in Phippsburg. Refreshments will be served. Doors open at 7:00. For more information call 389-1770.

Martin Grosswendt &

Susanne Salem-Schatz

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Friday, October 20, at 7:30 p.m. 

American Roots, Early Blues, Old Time, Honky Tonk

Start with two compelling voices, an uncanny sense of harmony and a deep grounding in traditional American music. Add in stunning guitar work and a warm, intimate performance style, and what do you get? Martin Grosswendt and Susanne Salem-Schatz. As one reviewer says, “Martin and Susanne make beautiful music together.”

Martin is internationally known as an interpreter of pre-war blues and other roots music. He started his career recording with and accompanying legendary folk musicians such as U Utah Phillips, Rosalie Sorrels, and Jim Ringer and Mary McCaslin. Susanne is a veteran of the Boston roots music scene.  A life-long singer, she slips seamlessly into any genre, making it her own; soulful blues singer one minute, sassy honky-tonk gal the next. Together they embrace a deep love and respect for the roots of classic blues, old time, early country, and honky-tonk. At the same time, they make the music their own, presenting it with style, grace and wit.

“Martin Grosswendt and Susanne Salem-Schatz make beautiful music together. Martin is one of roots music’s best kept secrets, while Salem-Schatz complements Grosswendt’s stunning, understated instrumental work and soulful singing with rock solid rhythm, distinctive harmonies and powerful lead vocals. Together Martin and Susanne explore the highways and byways of traditional and vernacular American music in a unique and compelling way that’s all their own. If they come your way, don’t miss them.”

– Andy Wallace, former Program Director, National Folk Festival; Associate Director, New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival; Associate Director, National Council for the Traditional Arts; Program Coordinator, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress