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Mark Martin

Mark Martin - Piano / Organ / Keyboards

Most people like Mark Martin. He is a pianist because music is one of the most important things in his life. Mark does not remember when he began playing the piano, however, historic documents indicate that he was already playing piano expertly at an age when most children are playing with toys. He began studying classical music at age four, immersing himself in the elementary works of Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven, meanwhile learning the language of music theory and the mechanics of composition. At the age of eight he won the MTNA's national composition award, an accomplishment that gained him much attention and consequently created opportunities for advanced academic study and competitive performance. Mark went on to win six more national composition awards before turning eighteen.

Mark spent the entirity of his adolescent years studying piano with his beloved teacher, Ida Kuss, until the age of eighteen when he enrolled in college at the University of Wisconsin in Whitewater; two years later he transferred to the University of Wisconsin in Oshkosh. During these years he immersed himself in the compositions of Chopin, Lizst, Scriabin, and Rachmaninoff with an array of incredible professors: Jerry Bramblet, Lavonne Coppenbarger, Karen Boe, Beverly Hassel, Timothy Lovelace, and Rose Chancler. It was also in college that Mark developed his philosophy of "injuring the humans with music" which is now immensely palpable to anyone who can listen with their eyes and hear with their feet.

In the past decade Mark has indulged in electronic music and a wide variety of popular musical styles (in addition to studying and performing jazz). All of these styles align in juxtaposition with his classical background to provide a lyricism that is painfully funky or sweetly sad. It can be ferocious or mellow, and it is always highly enjoyable. Mark has played over two-thousand gigs with The Jazz Orgy, including several national tours, and is currently living in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

Andy Mertens

Andy Mertens - Bass / Vocals

Andrew Mertens began his professional career at age sixteen playing nine shows a week for a local dinner theater, while also performing sporadically with various rock bands. Following a pit orchestra stint, he worked with a glam metal band, an outlaw biker band, and subbed with various blues and rock bands. Andrew spent the early part of the nineties studying classical music and performing with the Lawrence University Symphony Orchestra while delving into jazz. He is a 1998 graduate of the Lawrence University's Conservatory of Music, earning a bachelor of music performance.

Throughout college Andrew maintained an impressive performance schedule playing five to ten gigs per week with groups of unfixed styles; jazz, rock, blues, polka, reggae, dixieland, country, funk, and on and on. Most recently Andrew has performed with the Broadway touring companies: "Fiddler on the Roof" and "Beauty and the Beast." In 1999 played for the Shirley Jones Christmas Special, and toured the country with both the "Jan Garber Orchestra," and the gypsy swing group "Harmonious Wail." Andrew is currently living in Oshkosh, Wisconsin and teaches at a small liberal arts college while maintaining a private studio, and is working and touring with the Jazz Orgy.

Michael Underwood

Mike Underwood - Drums

Mike Underwood is an extremely versatile percussionist from the Fox Valley of Wisconsin. He started his musical career early, performing as an actor in local music companies. He later began studying percussion and was hired to play in the pit orchestras. Throughout high school Mike played with numerous symphony orchestras, jazz bands, wind ensembles, and rock groups. After getting accepted as a music performance major at the University of Wisonsin Oshkosh, Mike studied under Dr. Payton MacDonald and Dr. Alison Shaw. He explored many aspects of the percussion family including drum set, mallet percussion, hand percussion, orchestral percussion, and steel drum.

Underwood now resides in the Fox Valley of Wisconsin and performs over 300 shows a year with an array of different ensembles. He is the primary drummer for The Jazz Orgy, he is also a steady member of Greg Waters & The Broad Street Boogie and Sly Joe & The Smooth Operators. In addition, he is a freelance performer and is hired on a regular basis with groups of every kind. His styles include: jazz, blues, rock, R&B, soca, orchestral, latin, and many more.

Mike has recieved a number of awards and accreditations including the Richard "Snax" Jaeger scholarship, the US Marine Semper Fi music award, and a University of Wisconsin music scholarship. Also, he has won sewveral Wisconsin Area Music Industry (WAMI) awards including "Alt Country Group of the Year" during his stint with Andy's Automatics, "Rock Group of the Year" with Greg Waters & The Broad Street Boogie, "Jazz Group of the Year" with The Jazz Orgy, and was nominated in 2010 and 2011 for "Drummer of the Year".

There is something amazing about Mike Underwood. Nobody knows exactly what it is, but everybody knows it's there. Maybe it's his collegiate classical training and his frequent performances with most of the regional syphonies and wind ensembles. Maybe it's the jazz chops he developed while performing with the bands Omikronica or The Jazz Orgy. Maybe it's his extensive experience with steel drums and island music in the band Pandora's Groove. Most likely, it's the energy and charisma that he brings to the stage for every performance. His commitment to practice and learning yields incredible musical tensions and releases. It's a musical catharsis.

Stephen Cooper

Stephen Cooper - Saxophones / Vocals

Stephen Cooper began the study of the saxophone in 1987 at the age of 12. After two years of formal study, he began studying jazz after attending the University of Wisconsin Green Bay summer jazz camp. While still in high school, he delved into the works of Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, and Michael Brecker. During his senior year of high school (1994), Stephen performed with the Fond du Lac Goodrich High School marching band for a Green bay Packers half time show, was a featured soloist with the school's concert band during its successful Mexico tour, and also held the position of lead alto in the 1994 Wisconsin State Honors Jazz Band, one of only two seats for the entire state. Upon high school graduation and prior to entering college, Stephen held the lead alto chair for the UWGB Jazz 1 ensemble for its tour of Europe, which included performances at the world famous Monteaux Jazz Fest in Montreaux, Switzerland and the North Sea Jazz Fest in Den Haag, Netherlands.

The fall of 1994 began Stephen's attendance to the University of Wisconsin Green Bay towards a Bachelor of Arts degree in Jazz Studies. While there, he had the opportunity to perform along with many jazz greats, including Joshua Redman, David Leibman, Nelson Rangell, and Bryan Lynch. It was during this time that Stephen's professional career really began to pick up as well. He began performing with The Groove Hogs at the age of 17, a blues based horn band that he still performs with today. With them, he has performed at countless blues festivals in the U.S. and Canada, including the London, Ontario Bluesfest and the Windsor, Ontario Bluesfest, where they opened for guitar legend Buddy Guy on consecutive nights, for crowds of 8,500 and 13,700 people respectively. It was during this time that Stephen began to sing lead vocals professionally. Taking what he had learned from his training on the saxophone, he began singing songs by R&B greats such as Sam Cooke, Donny Hathaway, and Stevie Wonder. Progressing with time, Stephen has recently begun singing songs in the vocal style of King Pleasure.

Over the years, he has had the opportunity to also open for Kool and The Gang, Three Dog Night, The Beach Boys, Hootie and The Blowfish, Canned Heat, The Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Bob Newhart, Walter Trout, Little Milton, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Mountain, Common, Steppenwolf, Rod Piazza, Debra Coleman, Eddie King, Tabenoi, Janiva Magness, Survivor, America, Fountains of Wayne, Douglas Spotted Eagle, Blair and Herman's Hermits. He has had the chance to play or sit in with: Kenny Wayne Sheppard, Brian Lee, Larry McCray, John Lee Hooker Jr., Unity, Hot Sauce, Big Poppa Boogie, Big Mouth, Soul System, Aja, Rockin' Jimmy and the Blues Weasels, East Side Earl and The West Side Horns, Clambake, The Presidents, Unified Soul, The Sweet Baby Rays and the Groove Merchants among others.

The more recent years have already seen much success for Stephen, as he has taken on a larger role of booking The Jazz Orgy, along with being nominated for a WAMI award for the Reeds/Brass category. He has just recently attended the exclusive saxophone masterclass with David Liebman in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. He continues to press forward, writing and performing throughout the United States.