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Originally published by Silver City Sun-News - Silver City, NM

Silver City to host Jazz Orgy

By Rebecca Schubert

2003.01.12 -- Rejuvenation coffee house and boutique is inviting Silver City residents to dance, drink and be merry in the atmosphere created by the Wisconsin jazz/improv group, Jazz Orgy Thursday and Friday.

Rob Evans, co-owner of Rejuvenation, discussed the multiple reasons why he invited the duo to perform.

He remembered a few months ago when Jazz Orgys pianist, Mark Martin, visited Rejuvenation where a tuned piano is a permanent fixture.

He just wandered through and asked if he could play, Evans said. He was amazing.

When Martin finished, he and Evans discussed a return visit.

The decision [for Martin to return] was pretty mutual, Evans said.

Evanss second reason for hosting the Jazz Orgy was to entertain local residents and add to the unique Silver City atmosphere.

We wanted to create a place that feels fun ... where you feel welcome to just come in, he said.

Evans explained that he has left Grant County many times, hoping to find an easier life elsewhere. After leaving, however, he quickly discovered where he truly wanted to be.

The grass is always greener ... but its not Silver, he said.

This feeling is why Evans wants to nurture and add to the special qualities of downtown Silver City and bring live music to area residents.

Jazz Orgy began three years ago as a Sunday night of improvisational jazz in Wisconsins Fox Valley. Each week, Martin and bassist Andrew Mertens met with numerous musicians to explore traditional, modern and non-traditional forms of jazz. By inviting notable musicians such as Tom Theabo, members of the Count Basie Orchestra, Bob Maynard, Peter Buxman and John Harmon, the typical jazz jam is transformed into a night of unrivaled music.

Mertens began his professional career at age 16, playing nine shows a week for a local dinner theater, while also performing with various rock bands. He played for a short time with an orchestra, then a glam metal band, an outlaw biker band, several blues and rock bands.

He spent the early 1990s studying classical music and performing with the Lawrence University Symphony Orchestra while delving into jazz. While receiving a formal education, Mertens played five to 10 times per week with groups of unfixed styles: jazz, rock, blues, polka, reggae, Dixieland, country and funk, to name a few. In 1998, he graduated from the Lawrence University Conservatory of Music with a bachelor of music performance degree.

Most recently, he has performed with the Broadway touring companies, Fiddler on the Roof and Beauty and the Beast. He currently resides in Oshkosh, Wisc. and teaches at a small liberal arts college while maintaining a private studio.

Martin began playing the piano expertly as a young boy. He immersed himself within the works of Beethoven and Mozart while embarking into personal composition. At age 8, he won the MTNA National Composition Award, and before turning 18, he won six more National Composition Awards.

Martin explored brass instruments in high school and majored in piano at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh thereafter. In college he focused intently on the music of Chopin, Liszt, Scriabin and Rachmaninoff. It was during those years Martin developed his philosophy of injuring humans with music, which can be understood by anyone who can listen with their eyes and feet.

In the past five years, Martin has indulged in electronic music, jazz and funk.

To share the nuances discovered during these jazz sessions, Mertens and Martin are taking a road trip throughout the Southwest.

They will play two performances at Rejuvenation - from 2-4 p.m., Thursday, and from 6-10 p.m., Friday. A $1 cover will be charged Friday night.

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