They are a nine-piece Motown soul band built on a foundation of blues, soul, jazz, rock ’n’ roll, punk and ska. In 2015, the band released the EP “Sunday Best,” which followed the release of 2014’s full-length LP “Downtown Sound.” The band performed at the Red Gorilla Festival at South by Southwest in 2017, and they have shared the stage with acts such as Charles Bradley, The Original Wailers, Thomas Wynn & The Believers and Selwyn Birchwood.
According to the band, “Soul music, like all great American popular music, is the blues cleaned up for a specific audience. In this case, divorced from its rigid 12-bar structure and filtered through jazz with a healthy dollop of rock ‘n’ roll, it retains its gritty heart but moves from the delta into the city as dance music. The Savants of Soul, in this tradition of genre melding, have taken southern deep soul and seasoned it with Motown, added some punk energy, jazz and modern R&B to end up with a sound that reveres its traditions without slavishly emulating them. The Savants of Soul are here to spread their gospel their way.”
The Savants of Soul are Justin McKenzie (lead vocals), Austin Van Wie (guitar), John Gray Shermyen (bass), Zack Emerson (keyboards), Alex Klausner (drums), Mandy Moo (trumpet/vocals), Jason Beverung (trombone), Jordan Jones (tenor saxophone) and Ray Vigil (baritone saxophone).