The PJQ band back in the day, left to right: Tom Freeman, Paul Jenny, Priscilla Quinby, Bill Quinby and Jim Quinby, reunites for three performances next week. - PJQ

PJQ lives!

If you lived in the Rogue Valley back in the late 1970s and early '80s, chances are you heard the local band PJQ. They played regularly at some of Ashland's popular watering holes which have since closed and become restaurants.

There was the Boar's Head on Siskiyou Boulevard that later became Jazzmin's and is now House of Thai. Then there was Brooklyn just off the Plaza on North Main that is now a new building and is the Creekside Pizza Bistro. PJQ also played at the Vintage Inn on Granite, which has since become Il Giardino.

The band will reunite for a three-night run in a venue that didn't exist 30 or 40 years ago, during the band's heyday. Performances will be at 8 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, June 25-27, at the Avalon Bar and Grill, 105 W. Valley View Road, Talent.

PJQ lasted about five years and was part of what some call the golden era of Ashland nightlife. Band members included Paul Jenny on trumpet, guitar and vocals; Tom Freeman on drums; and three Quinbys: Priscilla Quinby, guitar and vocals; Jim Quinby, piano and vocals; and Bill Quinby on tenor sax, vocals and bass.

"We covered a whole lot of bases," said Jenny. "We weren't just a rock band and we weren't just a jazz band. A lot of the charm of the band was we were the only band around doing 4-part harmonies."

The band's intricate and rich vocal harmonies became its trademark along with its mostly original music. All of the band members composed music.

"We had four voices to work with, and nobody ever wanted to double anybody else, so sometimes we sounded a little like the Four Freshmen," said Jim Quinby in a press release.

"The best word we ever came up with to describe us was 'eclectic' because, in addition to our many original songs, we did Tom Waits, Beatles, Martin Mull, The Band, Latin jazz." And there were touches of folk, country and ragtime.

"What provided our central thread," Jenny said, "was our chemistry as a band. People could see we were just having a ball and the audience joined right along with us."

Which is part of what prompted the reunion. When Jenny was in rehearsal for a show on Bing Crosby, he talked about the band. Avalon owner Dal Carver said, "Why don't you do a reunion and we'll hold it at my place in Talent?"

Jenny is thrilled to be in rehearsal for the show with his former band members.

"It feels wonderful," he said. "It's so good to be doing that stuff again."

PJQ also performed as the pit band for "Gumm to Garland," a stage musical featuring Priscilla Quinby as Judy Garland. In 1982, PJQ appeared in the TV pilot "Fat Chance," for which Jim Quinby and Jenny wrote the title theme.

Four of the band members are still active in Ashland music and arts. Freeman has a recording studio, teaches drums and works as a percussionist and with jazz ensembles.

Jenny has performed in musicals at Camelot Theatre Company in Talent and performs with Freeman at the Bella Union in Jacksonville.

Priscilla Quinby has performed in musical and dramatic roles at Camelot and the Craterian.

Jim Quinby is a regular performer at Alex's and the Wild Goose in Ashland and at the Avalon in Talent.

"Brother" Bill Quinby will travel from Reno for the Avalon shows. He is involved in community theater and is a musical director.

Joining the original band members for the Avalon shows will be Ashland bassist Jeff Addicott. He has worked with Freeman, Jenny and Jim Quinby and other musicians.

Admission is $20 and reservations are required. Call 512-8864.

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