Moving Away from the Center of Jazz: Thomas Wirtel, a.k.a. Thomas Shabda Noor, Ann Starr, NewMusicBox, The Web Magazine from the American Music Center
Armand Beaudoin, bass and cello
Gary Peyton, drums
Morgan Powell, slide trombone
Randy Salman, Saxophone
Chip Stephens, piano
We are seasoned jazz players who have played with many name bands. We play tunes that people know, by Duke Ellington, George Gershwin, Cole Porter, Richard Rodgers, Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, and more. BJQ plays a variety of styles (swing, Latin, ballads, etc).
We are friends who enjoy performing together and think that it shows
BJQ performs at local clubs (The Iron Post, Embassy Tavern, Blind Pig, Cowboy Monkey, Zorba’s) and has performed at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts (KCPA) Afterglow and wine tasting; Beckman Institute; Champaign Park District events; Lincoln Square, Urbana with The Champaign/Urbana Youth Orchestra and the Bow-Dacious String Band; Illinois State University Jazz Festival; Quincy, Illinois Arts Center; DePauw University, Greencastle, Indiana; Prairie Breezes mini concerts for kids, at The Urbana Free Library, Urbana, IL as well as Urbana and Champaign Libraries Sunday concerts, The Virginia Theater in Champaign and public school events. BJQ has also performed for benefits and social events.
In a concert setting, we tell our audience about the music we perform.In 1990, slide trombonist Morgan Powell and valve trombonist Mike Gabriel formed Boneyard, named after the Boneyard Creek, which flows through Champaign and Urbana. The original rhythm section was comprised of Glenn Scheutz on bass, Woody Woodward on piano, and Bill French on drums.
When Glenn left town, Donald (Raphael) Garrett, who had recorded with John Coltrane, took his place. At times, both Tom Fredrickson and John Pennell subbed on bass. Drummers Steve Adelman and Jeff Magby have subbed for the band. Trombonist Britta Langsjoen has sat in with the group. Eventually Armand Beaudoin took over the bass for the Boneyard. The group has played gigs, among other places, at Nature’s Table, The Blind Pig, The Beckman Institute, The Iron Post, Piano People, and Sweet Betsy’s in Urbana.
There was a period in the 1990’s when the group ceased to exist but rekindled itself around 2002. In 2004, Mike retired from the University, UIUC, and moved to St. Augustine, FL. Tom (Shab) Wirtel, trumpet and flugel horn, had been playing with the group for a few weeks before Mike left and Shab and Morgan remained as the horns after Mike departed. Mike comes back to the area on university business occasionally and plays with the group.
Until 2010 Shab (trumpet), Woody Woodward (piano), Jeff Magby (drums), Armand Beaudoin (bass) and Morgan Powell (trombone) made up BJQ. When Shab began writing some sextet arrangements for BJQ, Randy Salman (sax/clarinet) started playing with the band occasionally. In 2009 an old friend of Shab and Morgan from North Texas Lab Band days—Gary Peyton—began playing drums with the band, replacing the irreplaceable Jeff. In 2010 Shab moved to Houston and Randy became a regular member of the band.
Then on March 30, 2012, pianist and charter member of BJQ Woody Woodward played his last gig with us. Woody is moving to Bloomington, IL. Woody was an integral part of BJQ since our beginning at Nature’s Table. Pianist Chip Stephens will begin with BJQ on May 25th, 2012.
Boneyard played its last regular gig at The Iron Post on October 30th 2015. BJQ, which started in 1990 at Nature’s Table in Urbana, retired after 25 years and loads of good music. We thank our grand following for the fabulous ride.