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Originally published by The Northwestern - Oshkosh, WI

Recreation: Jazz Orgy

A Grab Bag of Talent

By Jeff Bollier

2006.03.20 -- Joe Stevens refers to the Jazz Orgy as more of the Jazz Mafia these days.

After six years, Stevens, a guitarist and pianist behind the now-defunct group Something Phonic, said the weekly Sunday night performance that began as an open jazz jam has become more like a family of players and performers.

"You may not even know who you're going to end up playing with on a given night," Stevens said. "But, I can always look forward to playing with accomplished musicians."

Pianist Mark Martin, bassist Andy Mertens and percussionist/drummer Mark Powers are at the core of the Jazz Orgy. The group celebrates their sixth continuous year of Sunday nights at Peabody's Ale House, 544 N. Main St., this month.

The core group is complemented by a base of area musicians who play with the group or will sit in on a regular basis during the course of a three-set performance. Their approach to jazz is what Mertens said brought the group together in the first place.

"I had hosted jam nights with folk musicians, blues guys and rock 'n' rollers and thought it would be a great idea to have a jam specifically for jazz players," Mertens said.

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