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Gintas Janusonis
Independent - United States


Born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to Lithuanian parents, Gintas displayed an immediate love and prodigious talent for music. He began playing violin at age 3, studying at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music. By age 5 he began to play and study piano, but, at about the same time, his passion and affinty toward drums and percussion took hold. Initially self taught, Gintas was invited to study percussion and drum set with some of the top music educators in the Midwest, including the highly acclaimed James A. Sewrey, while still in grade school.

He was soon winning top prize in every regional and state music competition he entered, playing drumset, mallet keyboards, and timpani. He made his Carnegie Hall debut at the age of 15 with the Greater Milwaukee Youth Wind Ensemble.

Thanks to his parents love of music, and the arts in general, and his father’s vast record collection, his early musical and drumming influences included such diverse artists as Art Blakey, the Beatles, Eric Dolphy, Stan Getz, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Led Zeppelin, Bob Marley, Stevie Wonder, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Weather Report, Public Enemy, and The Police, along with classical composers like Debussy, Chopin, Stravinsky, and Tchaikovsky.  While continuing to study and play classical percussion, and perform with drum corps, he started gigging professionally at the age of 14 with local jazz, funk, reggae, and rock groups; including gigs with jazz organ legend Melvin Rhyne(Wes Montgomery), Elvin Jones/Roy Hargrove bassist Gerald Cannon, and being a founding member of avant-Garde jazz collective MCME(MilwaukeeCreativeMusicEnsemble).

He then went on to study percussion and composition, on full scholarship at Northern Illinois University, and Berklee College of Music in Boston. While in Boston Gintas studied with Alan Dawson, Gary Chaffee, Jamey Haddad, Giovanni Hidalgo, George Garzone, Billy Pierce, Bob Moses, Ian Froman, Hal Crook, Joe Hunt, Casey Schuerell, and Ed Uribe,  and was regularly gigging  with Bruce Bartlett, Baron Browne, Jeff Lockhart and many of the other best musicians and groups in the Boston area.
 Since moving to New York in 1996 to further his professional career, Gintas has performed and/or recorded with Carlos Santana, Erykah Badu (who bestowed upon Gintas the nickname “White Chocolate”), Benny Rietveld, Bilal Oliver, Defunkt, James Spaulding, Oliver Lake, Hikaru Utada, Ursula Rucker, David Murray/Next Legacy Big Band, Kahil el’Zabar, Tony Bennet, Sandra St. Victor, Josh Roseman, Ultra Nate, Jorge Sylvester, David Fiuczynski, Reggie Washington, Fareed Haque, Grant Green Jr., Rueben Wilson, Curtis Fowlkes, Jeff Mironov, Michael Harvey and many others. He has also performed on The Tonight Show w/Jay Leno, MTV, Rosie O’Donnell Show, the View and has toured internationally including performances at The 2002 Nobel Peace Prize Concert, Carnegie Hall, Radio City Music Hall, The Blue Note(NYC), 55 Bar(NYC), The Knitting Factory(NYC), The Jazzhaus(Copenhagen),  The North Sea Jazz Festival, The Montreaux Jazz Festival, JVC Rome Jazz Festival, Airtel San Sebastian Jazz Festival, Esb Dublin Jazz week festival, and the Vilnius Jazz Festival. Gintas has also received a gold record for his performance on the Ultra Nate single “Free”, from the album “Situation Critical”

Since May of 2002, Gintas has been touring world-wide with Grammy-nominated Columbia/Sony recording artist Angelique Kidjo, including opening for Santana on the entire Summer 2003 Shaman Tour. And since March of 2003 Gintas has been touring with Lava/Atlantic recording artist Louque, while continuing to play and record with many other artists and bands.         

While continuing to cultivate his diverse playing career, Gintas is also continuing to expand his talents into production, composition, and songwriting. His areas of playing and production expertise include, but are not limited to; Jazz (acoustic and electric), Hip-hop, Funk, Soul, Reggae, Drum&Bass/ Jungle various Brazilian and Afro Cuban styles, various African musical styles, Rock, and any combinations there of.

Gintas is part of a new generation of progressive musicians who, as a reflection of their diverse musical backgrounds, are not bound by categories or stylistic dogma.  Musicians who are dealing with the playing and creation of modern music by recognizing and establishing artistic connections that span across all creative mediums.

Equipment Configuration

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