For the second year in a row, I took on the role of Musical Director for the WAMI (like a Wisconsin Grammy) Awards show, held in Milwaukee last night. I got to lead the stellar house band (Jazz Orgy) in and out of all the tight spaces that a live award show permits. Musical cues (i.e. 10-20 second clips while winners make their way to the stage) ranged from Quiet Riot to Katy Perry to Star Wars to Duke Ellington, with plenty of original Sly Joe songs flavored in as well.
The Jazz Orgy was on fire from the pre-show music until the house lights came on. Beside me was Mark Martin (keys), Mike Underwood (WAMI nominated drummer), Andy Mertens (bass), Steve Cooper (WAMI winning sax/vocalist), and Ryan Schiedermayer (WAMI nominated percussionist). The band was so hot, that people were dropping our name all over the place! The only words mentioned on mic more than "Jazz Orgy" that night were "and the WAMI goes to..."! Lead singer, Black Wolf from "Kings Go Forth" even stopped by to sing a few verse of Sam Cooke's "Bring it on Home" as he went up to accept his Male Vocalist Award.
Big Congrats go to some good friends who won awards for their musical awesomeness! Unity the Band (Reggae Artist), Ethan Keller (Pop Artist), and John Harmon (Hall of Fame inductee). Be sure to check out what they're up to these days. For instance, you'll be able to hear Kai-Man from Unity and Ethan Keller's contributions on the upcoming Sly Joe & the Smooth Operators album!