The Lineup

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 graced the stage with Soulio over the years!

John Janowiak (Johnny Showtime) – Trombone
John JanowiakJohnny Showtime (John Janowiak) has carved out a niche as an in-demand trombonist for a wide variety of groups and recording projects. Showtime is best known for his trombone work in Liquid Soul, in which he played from 1995 to early 2003 – and again in a recent series of reunion shows. He recorded on three of the band’s albums, including the Grammy-nominated Here’s the Deal. The gig took him all over North America, Japan and Europe, with appearances at the Montreal Jazz Festival, the Newport Jazz Festival, the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, President Bill Clinton’s Inaugural Ball, and many other notable venues. Besides Soulio and Liquid Soul, Showtime also works regularly with Tributosaurus and various jobbing bands. More info at johnnyshowtime.com


Matt Shevitz – saxophones
Matt ShevitzOriginally from Oregon, Matt Shevitz has been an in demand musician in Chicago, Illinois for the last several years. Throughout his music career he has performed alongside such internationally renowned jazz musicians as Dick Hyman, Ignacio Berroa, Howard Levy, Frank Capp, Randy Sandke, Ken Peplowski, Byron Stripling, and Frank Wess along with blues/roots rock guitarist Eric Lindell and Ropeadope Records artists Spare Parts. With these artists and others, Matt has 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).

In addition to performing, Matt has been a regular contributor to DownBeat Magazine since 2009. He has published articles analyzing transcriptions of great jazz solos as well as jazz theory and effective practice habits. His articles have garnered the attention of musicians worldwide.

Matt is currently a professor at Harold Washington College. He received a Doctor of Musical Arts in Jazz Performance degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2009, for which he did extensive research on the great jazz saxophonist Harold “Tina” Brooks. His other degrees consist of a Master of Music in Jazz Pedagogy from Northwestern University and a Bachelor of Science in Music from the University of Oregon.

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 MontanaJay 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.

Links: jaymontana.com


Dan Leali – Drums
Dan LealiA native of the Chicago area, Dan Leali 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, songwriters Liz Phair, Jewel, Peter Himmelman and Robbie Fulks, Poi Dog Pondering, 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.”

Dan has also been active in the recording studio, performing on commercial jingles and video game soundtracks for such products and organizations as Budweiser, Miller Lite, Golden Grahams, the U.S. Army, and WMS. He teaches privately, does school presentations and clinics, and doubles as a percussionist and programmer. Currently, Dan can be seen and heard with Under The Streetlamp, Tributosaurus, and Tyn Lynott (Thin Lizzy Tribute), among others.

Links: danleali.com