Joy Magruder

MonktetAtLACMA300Joy Magruder has been in the middle of the L.A. music-jazz scene for almost 40 years and knows things about the music that surrounds us.

She started playing piano at age 3-1/2. her father, Dick Coates, played guitar and sang for Woody Herman’s “The Band that Played the Blues” (pre “Herd”) and Tex Beneke’s Band. Her mother Josephine, played violin. Her maiden name was Monteverde. She observes, “My middle name is Cecilia, after the patron saint of music! So both jazz and classical music were part of me at birth”.

Joy grew up in show biz. As an actress and a model, she spent a lot of time at studios and on sound stages. Music was everywhere. Later, she decided that she preferred to “create the magic” behind the camera and became a hair stylist and make-up artist. Many celebrities and well-known musicians and singers became her clients on and off camera.

Elvis connection: Priscilla Presley was a client. Joy did her hair, most secretly, for their Las Vegas Wedding!!!

In 1972, she married John Magruder. He was a composer, saxophonist, bassist and educator. She remembers: “We started an 18-piece Big Band, “The Magruder Machine” that rehearsed under the chandelier in our dining room for 30 years. I became his copyist, contractor, manager and muse. In 1988, John formed “the Magruder Monktet“ as a challenge to himself as a writer and to each of the nine players. He played the tenor chair. Music was everywhere… -all the time. I loved it!”

John passed away in April 2003. Joy recalls, “I couldn’t bear not having a house full of music and musicians so I re-formed the “Monktet” in August 2003. It is a straight-ahead-bebop nonet that plays John’s original pieces and the music of Thelonious Monk”.

I am awe-struck by the talent that surrounds me! To watch as this music is created… to be a part of it… makes my life so very special.

Woman to Joy (pointing to the Monktet)… “We’ve been wondering, which one is yours?” Joy to woman (with a grin), All of them (true story).