Soulio is a quintet that features a front line of trombone and sax, putting a slight twist on the classic soul-jazz combo. Led by trombonist Johnny Showtime (John Janowiak), the group also includes saxophonist Matt Shevitz, bassist Greg Nergaard, drummer Dan Leali and guitarist Jay Montana. A variety of top notch subs and featured guests have also joined Soulio over the years.
John Janowiak (Johnny Showtime) – Trombone
With a beefy, hard-swinging style that is often compared to that of Fred Wesley, Showtime has carved out a niche as an in-demand trombone soloist and section man for a wide variety of groups and recording projects. He is best known for his eight-year run with Liquid Soul (1995 to 2003). He recorded on three of the band’s albums, including the Grammy-nominated Here’s the Deal (2000), and toured extensively throughout North America, Japan and parts of Europe. These days, besides leading Soulio, he performs regularly with a variety of jazz, blues, funk, tribute and jobbing bands, both in Chicago and on the road.
Matt Shevitz – saxophones
Originally from Oregon, Matt Shevitz has been living in Chicago, Illinois for the last several years. Throughout his music career he has performed alongside such internationally renowned jazz musicians as Dick Hyman, Bucky Pizzarelli, Johnny Frigo, Marvin Stamm, Bill Watrous, Frank Capp, Randy Sandke, Scott Robinson, Ken Peplowski, Byron Stripling, and Frank Wess among others.
Matt has also performed at such festivals and clubs as the Jazz in the Park Festival (in Milwaukee, Wisconsin), the Waterfront Blues Festival (in Portland, Oregon), the Chicago Blues Festival, Lollapalooza, the House of Blues in Chicago, and as a featured artist for Oregon Festival of American Music (in Eugene, Oregon) and the Modlin Center for the Performing Arts (in Richmond, Virginia).
Visit Matt’s site for more info: mattshevitz.com
Greg Nergaard – Acoustic & Electric Bass
Greg NergaardGreg performs with a variety of ensembles including Anne Harris, Las Guitaras De España, Do No Dawn, embracing styles from jazz to pop, R&B to punk to flamenco, Latin and other ethnic styles. His involvement in music began at an early age, inspired by his musician parents. His education continued in high-school band and chorus and led to a scholarship at Beloit College as a vocal major. He found that bass was his true calling, and this led to studies at American Conservatory. Greg’s performing experience has taken him to Spain (2001), West Africa (2002) and even a stint playing in a Sudanese wedding band in Egypt (1996).
Jay Montana – Guitar
Jay Montana lends a touch of Grant Green and Wes Montgomery flavor to Soulio. Inspired by his father’s folk guitar playing, Jay started out on acoustic guitar and soon picked up his first electric, leading him to explore rock, blues, funk and jazz, styles that are all evident in his soloing and rhythm playing today. Jay received his B.S. in Music and Sound Engineering from DePaul University, and he honed his chops while playing in various local pop, rock and funk bands. Along with Soulio bassist Greg Nergaard, he co-founded and wrote music for the al loriginal acid-funk-jazz group New Math.
Dan Leali – Drums
A versatile drummer, Dan Leali currently performs with Poi Dog Pondering, the Chicago Production of Blue Man Group: Rewired, The Fareed Haque Group, and Tributosaurus, among others. A native of the Chicago area, Dan received a BM in Jazz Studies from DePaul University in Chicago. He has performed live or on record with such artists as jazz trumpeter Randy Brecker, Blue Man Group, guitarist Fareed Haque, bluesmen Pinetop Perkins and John Primer, and funk/jazz group Liquid Soul, touring extensively worldwide and receiving a Grammy nomination for his performance on that band’s 2000 recording, Here’s the Deal.