Banu (bah’new) Gibson is one of the few vocalists of her generation to stick exclusively to songs of the 1920s and ’30s. Not content to just copy singers of the past, she mixes fresh renditions of standards and obscurities. Banu Gibson is a powerful force on stage. Her enthusiasm and showmanship are highlighted by her wide range and versatility, spanning Bessie Smith to Billie Holiday, The Boswell Sisters to Sophie Tucker, and Lee Wiley to Fanny Brice.
Born in Dayton, Ohio and raised in Hollywood, Florida, Banu studied dance from the age of three and voice after turning nine years old. A natural performer, she graduated from college with a degree in music and theater, and started working professionally as a dancer while still in her teens. She was exposed to traditional jazz while working as a singer and dancer opposite the great Dixieland trumpeter Phil Napoleon, at Jackie Gleason’s Joe the Bartender room in Miami Beach. Banu moved to New York City to work the road band of Your Father’s Mustache, and traveled the continent from Victoria, B.C. to Guantanamo, Cuba. After a period working at Disneyland in The Class of ’27 show, she moved to New Orleans where she formed The New Orleans Hot Jazz band in 1981. Since then, Banu Gibson and her sextet have been featured at numerous concerts and jazz festivals and on recordings, most notably Banu’s own label, Swing Out.
She has been on the following radio and television broadcasts: Entertainment Tonight; the PBS television series Dixieland Jazz From New Orleans; Joan Lunden’s syndicated show Everyday; four times as featured vocalist on Riverwalk Jazz. In 1986, Banu toured Europe with the late cornetist, Wild Bill Davison. She has continuously performed abroad with her band in Germany, England, The Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and with a contingent of her band in Australia. In 1995, Banu traveled with her pianist/musical director David Boeddinghaus for a week of performances in Vienna, including a gala appearance at the Palais Auersperg. She sang in New York City with Dick Hyman at Jazz in July in 1991 and 1995.
Beginning in 1988 Banu and her band have taken their music to an expanded audience by including in their touring, performances with symphony orchestras including the St. Louis, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Phoenix, Tucson, San Diego, Sacramento, and New Orleans Symphonies; and a three-night concert at the Hollywood Bowl with John Mauceri and the Hollywood Bowl Symphony Orchestra.