“Mr. Jefferson’s Bones is trombone magic! Their soulful rendition of God Bless the Child left the audience at the JMU Furious Flower tribute to Lucille Clifton wanting more.”
Sacred Music Performances
“I am enthusiastic about Mr. Jefferson’s Bones, a trombone ensemble comprised of consummate musicians who exhibit extraordinary musicianship through a wide range of styles. They are equally comfortable performing a renaissance motet as when playing something with a blues flavor. Our church audience was enthralled with the delightful punctation and contrast they provided at an otherwise all choral, sacred music festival.”
Audiences of All Ages
“Thank you so much for playing for us at Camp Young at Heart. Many of our 65 participants commented that, ‘all the entertainment was excellent, but Mr. Jefferson’s Bones was the best!’”
School Assemblies in Virginia
“Mr. Jefferson’s Bones engaged my high school band class for an entire period with a wide range of literature for trombone quartet. Highly recommended!”
Excellence in Brass Worship Music
“What is the sound of five trombones blowing? It is the ode to joy on a Sunday morning and the thunder’s swell to quicken delight. Mr. Jefferson’s Bones are gifted musicians who ‘sing the body electric’.”
Masterful Liturgical Music Sensitivity
“Mr. Jefferson’s Bones consistently performs an amazing variety of sacred and secular repertoire with a wonderful sense of style. Your gift of programming and understanding of church liturgy have enhanced the Moravian Love Feasts, Advent Midday Concerts, and Good Friday Services at Asbury. Each exquisite performance is accompanied by fun and flexibility. It’s obvious that you love what you do, and you do it so well!”
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. The founding members were Robert Graham, Gary Elwell, Natalie Bucheimer Collins, and Robert Mott.
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.
In 2008, two of the original members left and the group added trombonists John Hollenbeck and Tom McKenzie. With the new lineup, MJB began performing more formal concerts and stepped up its music education outreach with the formation of its annual Tromblow’in workshop held at James Madison University. Dr. Andy Lankford replaced Gary Elwell in 2010, and Niki Lendvay Miragliotta joined in late 2011.
Mr. Jefferson’s Bones’ current members stand on the shoulders of all who have come before and contributed so much to the legacy of this enduring musical ensemble.