JQ had its beginnings in 1978 when Morgan Powell and Ray Sasaki organized a quintet to play at Urbana, Illinois’ famed Nature’s Table, a jazz club which was by day a natural foods restaurant. The rhythm section was composed of the great composer and their close friend, Salvatore Martirano, piano, Pat Castle, bass and John Meyers, drums.
From 1978 and into the 1980’s, JQ (then known as “The Late Night Quintet”) performed at Nature’s Table on a regular basis and toured throughout Illinois. Sometime in the 1980’s Pat (DMA in music composition) and John (Bachelor in FAA) graduated from The University of Illinois and took jobs elsewhere and Sal went to California to teach at CIA for a year.
Ray and Morgan, wishing to carry on with the group, went through a few rhythm section players, and ended up with their friends, Donnie Heitler, pianist, Dan Anderson, bassist, and Bill French, drummer. During this time the group was fronted by Dan Anderson who called it “Team Concept”.
At some point the name of the group was changed to JQ and after many years, Woody Woodward replaced Donnie as pianist. Others who performed with the JQ have been Joan Hickey and Mike Kocour, pianists, and Gary Peyton, drummer.
In the 1990’s, Dan Anderson moved to Chicago and in 2001 Ray moved to Austin. JQ still gets together three or four times a year to play at Urbana’s music club, The Iron Post, and other concert venues near and far. The group is on the Illinois Arts Council Artstour roster.