Paul Spencer Jazz Band
Paul began playing drums at the age of 13 and studied with Al Preffke. His first band, The Overatures, released two 45's and backed up Freddie "Boom Boom" Cannon. As an exciting local music scene unfolded in the 60s, he joined big Louie and the Renegades. Paul's group, The Walking Sticks, opened for national acts such as Little Richard, The Dave Clark Five, Jerry Lee Lewis, Louis Jourdan and The Timpany S. and Lou Christie. He played drums for Frankie Vali and the Four Seasons on their first tour in 1963. In 1967 Paul left Milwaukee to tour with the Jules Blattner Band and traveled to Vietnam with U.S. Army Special Services during the Tet Offensive in 1968 to entertain the American Troops. From there, they went on to play major venues in six foreign countries before returning to the US. During the 70s, he played nightly with the house band at one of the hottest Spring Break spots in Daytona Beach.
Paul returned to Milwaukee and studied Jazz at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music with Kerkeley Fudge and Mark Davis. He studied jazz drumming with Victor Soward, Bobby Koska, Bob Budny, Del Bennet, Rand Kuehn, and Ed Thigpen. He has played with jass greats Manty Ellis, Berkeley Fudge, Melvin Rhyne, Franke Morgan, Sam Kidd, Willie Pickens, and Joe Aaron.
Paul formed The Paul Spencer Band in 1999, playing local and regional concert venues, opening for Euge Groove and Arturo Sandoval, and headlining at Caroline's Jazz Club in Milwaukee consistently for 23 years. Paul produced a series of 7 sold-out Jazz Explosion shows at Northern Lights Theater and a sold-out concert at the Pabst, featuring his band members combined with many renewed local artists. All were recorded live.
Their thirteenth CD, "A Time and a Place," will be ready for release this summer.
During a musical career that spans six decades, Paul has developed a style of playing that provides both rhythmically and melodically sophisticated accompaniment to his band. His powerful solo work is capable of "lifting his audience of their seats and into the cosmos" Milwaukee Jazz Experience publication, 2000).
Joe Turano - singer, multi-instramentalist
Born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Joe began singing and playing piano at the age of three following in the footsteps of his mother, an accomplished pianist, vocalist, and songwriter.
After working with a succession of local groups in his teens, Joe moved to Los Angeles after high school where he eventually landed a gig as a featured vocalist with The Fowler Brothers "Air Pocket" which consisted of former members of Frank Zappa's touring band.
Not long thereafter he met Rickie Lee Jones and began working extensively on both preproduction and recording her highly acclaimed first album, Rickie Lee Jones," opening the doors to a prolific studio career in recordings, film, and television.
Touring followed with a 9-year stint with Michael Bolton as a singer, keyboardist, and saxophonist.
A partial list of other credits include George Benson, Joe Williams, Cassandra Wilson, Rachelle Farrell, George Duke, Israel "Cachao" Lopez, Dr. John, Dianne Reeves, Burt Bacharach, Rod Stewart, Joe Cocker, Tina Turner, and many more.
Joe had the privilege of working with the late great Ale Jarreau for nearly seventeen years, the last eight as musical director.
Mike Pauers - Baritone Saxophonist
Born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He has been playing music for almost 40 years. Mike studied saxophone and clarinet with renowned Milwaukee saxophonist and educator Joe Aaron, and studied flute with Corey Klunk. He additionally studied music theory with Steve Nelson-Raney, and had lessons with legendary baritone saxophonists Denis DlBasio and Ronnie Cuber.
Mike is comfortable in many styles of music, as reflected by the broad swath of experiences he has had in music. He has performed with symphony orchestras, including the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra; legendary R&B artists like Aretha Franklin, The Four Tops, and The Temptations; and many local rock, funk and jazz bands. He also appears on the Grammy nominated R&B album Somewhere in Time by Milwaukee native Eric Benet.
Currently, in addition to playing with the Paul Spencer Band, Mike can be heard with the Latin jazz powerhouse De La Buena, and in his own quartet.
As a graduate of Milwaukee Area Technical College's Music Occupations program, bassist Michael Ritter has been living and performing in Milwaukee for twenty years after relocating from Green Bay. As a seasoned bassist of familiarity at Milwaukee's Skylight Music Theater, he can be performing with bands Strangelander, The Paul Spencer Band, and 2019 WAMI-award winning (Best Polka Band) The November Criminals. Michael is an endorser for local company, Raezer's Edge, speakers and amplifiers.
Performed with the national tours of: Dancin' Zorba, Camelot, Chorus Line, Stop the World, the Rockettes, South Pacific, Grease, 42nd St., Lou Rawis, Gladys Knight, The Moody Blues, Maureen McGovern, The Mills Brothers, The temptations, The Four Tops, The Platters, The Coasters, The Drifters, Danny and Jrs. Little Anthony and others. He has played with jazz greats Stanley Jordan. The Dorsey Band, Dianne Schuur, and with The Milwaukee, Racine, Kenosha, and Waukesha Symphony Orchestras, the Milwaukee Civic and Chamber Orchestras, and Present Music.
James is currently active on the Milwaukee jazz scene appearing regularly with the Paul Spencer Band, Blu Jazz recording artist OPUS, and the Milwaukee Jazz Orchestra.
He has been a clinician/guest artist for the Kenosha, Racine, Milwaukee, Cudahy, Wausau, and Bowler public schools and the Rhythm section clinician for Wisconsin Honors Jazz Band.
He is an Associate Lecturer in music at UW-Parkside and was musical director for musicals at Carthage College, and an instructor for Mount Senario College. He is the co-director of Lakeshore Conservatory of Music, the Direction of Traditional Music at the Lutheran Church of the Resurrection in Racine, and a freelance editor, arranger, and engraver for Hal Leonard Publishing.