“From the searing guitar of “Señor Carlos”… to the smokey, hard swinging Bluenote influenced saxophone…to the ethereal underground of Munich, Germany, OPUS has redefined it’s roots in jazz.”
OPUS, an icon of straight ahead and fusion jazz, is celebrating 35 years of music making with performances during 2013 and 2014. The band has a long history of club, festival, and college performances, and was featured in 1980 with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. OPUS was nominated in 20013 for the Wisconsin Area Music Industry (WAMI) award for “Best Jazz Group”. The band has shared the stage with jazz greats such as Freddie Hubbard, Spyro Gyra, and Bill Bruford, Dizzy Gillespie, Pat Metheny, and many others.
OPUS members include Jim Sodke, an in demand multi-keyboardist/conductor for over 35 years in the Milwaukee/Chicago area. His original compositions have been heard and performed internationally. He has appeared with the national tours of Dancin’, Chorus Line, Grease, Lou Rawls, The Moody Blues and many others. He has accompanied jazz greats Stanley Jordan, and Dianne Schuur, and performed with The Milwaukee, Racine, Kenosha, and Waukesha Symphony Orchestras. He is currently an Associate Lecturer in music at UW-Parkside, and co-director of Lakeshore Conservatory of Music. Steve Lewandowski is one of the Midwest’s main go-to guitarists. His high-powered, hard edged guitar, original compositions, and other recordings can be heard on jazz radio stations internationally. He has performed with a variety of artists such as the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Bel Canto Chorus, Skylight Opera, Gary Burton, Ashley Alexander, Fifth Dimension, Chuck Hedges, and others. Steve has also worked with national touring Broadway shows such as “Sweet Charity”, “Chicago”, “The Lion King”, “Spamalot”, and “Legally Blonde”. Saxophonist and flutist Curt Hanrahan is both a solo recording artist and head of Jazz Studies at the University of Wisconsin. Curt has worked with Tony Bennett, Arturo Sandoval, Manhattan Transfer, Diane Schurr, Bobby Caldwell and Doc Severinsen to name a few. He has released three solo CDs: "Hang Time", "To Be Again" and "Souljourney". As a freelance bassist, Larry Tresp has performed with the Moody Blues, jazz pianist Buddy Montgomery, Chuck Hedges (clarinet), and has been the Festa Italiana bassist for over 25 years, backing up such artists as Dick Contino, Frank Stallone, and many other Las Vegas acts. Larry currently plays bass with the Contemporary Jazz group OPUS, and the Paul Spencer Band at Caroline's Jazz Club. Brian Ford is in demand as a freelance drummer/latin percussionist and has performed regionally at concerts and festivals since the late 1960’s. He is published, with a full curriculum of instructional materials for drums and percussion. Guest vocalist Anita Stemper has been a jazz fixture in the Milwaukee area for many years as well.