12 May Kickin’ it Up With Concerts in the Courtyard: May 15th – Banu Gibson
The Historic New Orleans Collection’s Concerts in the Courtyard Series sponsored by AOS is back in action for the month of May. If you are still craving live music long after Jazz Fest and French Quarter Festival, this series is a must see. In the spotlight this Friday is jazz singer Banu Gibson. Standing as a powerhouse at the top of her field, her repertoire focuses on songs of the 1920s, ‘30s, and ‘40s. Gibson adds her own spin to Tin Pan Alley standards and jazz classics by Gershwin, Ellington, Berlin, Carmichael, and more. Banu and her band have appeared on NPR’s A Prairie Home Companion and PBS’s Jazz From New Orleans. They have performed across Europe as well as headlining concerts, jazz festivals, and clubs around the United States with symphony orchestras.
Growing up in Hollywood, Florida, Gibson trained as a dancer although she studied voice as a child with an opera singer. She gained experience performing in a Miami club with Phil Napoleon in the late 60s, toured with Your Father’s Mustache soon afterwards and appeared at Disneyland in the Class of ’27 show. She landed in New Orleans in 1973, when her then-husband-to-be got a job at Tulane University. She would commute between Los Angeles and New Orleans where she was choreographing and directing.
Gibson cut out time to learn the rhythm banjo, and assembled a band, the New Orleans Hot Jazz, in April of 1981. The six-piece band improved steadily throughout the 80s and became a popular attraction at traditional jazz festivals. Gibson has recorded for World, Jazzology, and Stomp Off, but her most renowned recordings are for her own Swing Out label. She has continued to perform her signature blend of Great American Songbook standards for nearly four decades. Very few performers can recreate a sense of time and place, and the city is lucky to have its own Banu Gibson.
Banu Gibson performs this Friday, May 15, from 6 to 8 PM with doors opening at 5:30 PM. General Admission is $10 (free for THNOC members), and includes three complimentary beverages. Be sure to check out the final concert of the Spring series on Friday, June 12, with Aurora Nealand and the Royal Roses.