The seven-member combo Novel Jazz will perform the first of the Camden Public Library’s Summer Music Series Thursday, July 17, at 7 p.m. in the Camden Amphitheatre. The concerts are free, although donations will be accepted; bring blankets or chairs for seating. If the weather is wet, the concert will be moved indoors into the adjacent library’s Reading Room. The July concerts are underwritten by the Camden National Bank.

Novel Jazz has been performing straight-ahead jazz around Maine and New England for more than three decades. The Novel Jazz Septet draws from the Great American Songbook and specializes in the works of Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn.

The band’s members hail from all over Maine — Portland, Belfast, Northport, Newcastle, Gardiner, Augusta and Waterville. They perform regularly in Damariscotta and recently embarked on a project to go through the massive archive of compositions by Ellington and Strayhorn, who wrote more than 3,000 pieces between them; transcribe some lesser-known gems for the band; and reinterpret them with a 21st-century sound. Their first CD was released in 2008 and their second was released in 2011.

Novel Jazz will highlight well-known tunes plus rare, vintage gems, recently unearthed from original scores at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. and re-interpreted. Novel Jazz travels far and wide, keeping the spirit of Duke and Sweet Pea alive and swinging.

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115; or