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Originally published by Globe News - Amarillo, TX

Everybody Jams at the Jazz Orgy

By Chip Chandler

2006.03.02 -- Expect a free-for-all, just not of the sexual kind, when Jazz Orgy takes the stage this weekend at Butler's Martini Bar.

Pianist Mark Martin said an 'anything goes' mentality is the guiding principle behind the Oshkosh, Wisc.-based jazz jam band.

'That's why we call it 'Jazz Orgy' - let's get everybody involved, and let's get a little crazy,' Martin said.

That's why the band hopes Amarillo-area jazz fans bring out their instruments when the band makes its second appearance at Butler's this month.

The band started in 2000 at informal Sunday-night jam sessions in Oshkosh. A core group - which now includes sax player Steve Cooper, drummer Mark Powers and bassist Andy Mertens - emerged, though special guests rotated in and out at every session.

At most Jazz Orgy shows, the guest is featured during the first set. The second set is an open jam for anyone who comes out to see the show, and the third set brings back the guest artist to join the jam session.

'It's sort of an underground proving ground for young jazz musicians in the area,' Martin said.

Since 2003, the band has put on guerrilla-style gigs in venues between Oshkosh and Silver City, N.M., playing wherever they could along the route. Butler's was added to the schedule on this mini-tour for Feb. 11, and Martin thinks the band will make the martini bar a regular stop on the annual tour.

'We were very well received with a warm audience. Those things are important; they enhance the music,' Martin said. 'If the musicians feel appreciated, the music sounds better, that's for sure.'

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