18 June 2008

Mr. Jefferson’s Bones (USA)

Mr. Jefferson's Bones began in 2001 as an off-season weekly sectional rehearsal of the trombone section of the Charlottesville and University Symphony Orchestra (CUSO) of Charlottesville, Virginia. CUSO's then Principal Trombonist, Robert Graham, aspired to build a low brass section that was highly sensitive to orchestral section playing and intonation.
Soon therefater, the group expanded its purpose to perform publicly by building up its repertoire of Christmas music, often playing in December to benefit the Salvation Army's kettle drives, Christmas Tree lighting ceremonies, and the residents of various Charlottesville nursing homes. In addition, MJB often performed for worship services and choir concerts at a number of area churches, and in 2003, collaborated with both Sojourners UCC and First United Methodist of Charlottesville to create an original worship musical entitled "God's Trombones: Jazz and the Gospel."
In 2006, Mr. Jefferson's Bones headlined an evening of Staunton's Jazz in the Park summer concert series with an expanded lineup including local jazz trombonists Andrew LaPrade and Mark Maynard, and a jazz rhythm section. MJB provided an exciting and eclectic evening of great jazz standards and newer compositions, including songs made popular by J.J. Johnson, Kai Winding, The Capitol Bones, Them Bones, Tutti’s Trombones, and The Stan Kenton Orchestra.

Anna Lindvall

Rafael Mendez

Rafael Méndez was born on March 26, 1906 in Jiquilpan, Mexico. His musical training began when he was five, when his father needed a trumpet player for the orchestra comprised of family members. The Méndez orchestra was a popular performing group and appeared regularly at festivals and community gatherings. Rafael loved the trumpet and actually practiced more that his father allowed.
In 1916, the Méndez orchestra performed for guerrilla leader Pancho Villa. He was so taken with the family orchestra, that he “drafted” the family into his army. Rafael quickly became Villa’s favorite player, and after several months demanded that Méndez stay with the rebels, even after the rest of his family were allowed to return home. Months later, Méndez was released from the rebel army, and he began to perform in several travelling circus bands, in addition to the family orchestra. He joined the Mexican army in 1921, where he played in the army orchestra.