Monty Banks Bio:
Monty Banks is an entertainer: jazz singer, bandleader, piano player, saxophone player, master of ceremonies, and perennial comic - living and playing jazz music in New Orleans, Louisiana USA.
His style harkens back to the swingin' days of Louis Armstrong, Louis Jordan, Louis Prima, Ella Fitzgerald, Bille Holliday, and the Rest of the Rat Pack.
Whether singing and playing sax with his
High Rollers on Frenchmen Street, or leading his piano trio within the
lush enclaves of tommy's wine bar, you can bet Monty's singin' and swingin'
his heart out somewhere in New Orleans...
With successful runs on the Las Vegas Strip (The Venetian and Mandalay Bay), Monty was voted Best Lounge Act and Best Local Band in Las Vegas Weekly 2002.
"The greatest part about living in Las Vegas," says Banks, "is going, after your own gig, to see the real masters of Vegas-style entertainment." Though the Rat Pack had all but passed, there were still lounge pros working in the tradition of Mary Kaye Trio, Louis Prima, Sam Butera ... "I was able to hear something in the belting cry of Sam Butera and Sonny King - a wail that rang through time, accross the slot machines and roulette wheels."
At that time, he didn't realize the source of that sound - as with all jazz - is in New Orleans.
"I couldn't believe I was playing piano behind Sonny King - even singing duets and harmonies with the man who introduced Deano to the Chairman of the Board ... Jimmy Durante's partner of twenty five years !!"
Monty found veteran musical performers Sonny King, Blackie Hunt, and Lt. Governor Lorraine Hunt to be very friendly, supportive, and instructive, especially when he recieved this advice: "Whadaya you doin' here, kid? All the work is on cruiseships and Indian Casinos!"
Monty took to the sea shortly after, traveling as a jazz singer and piano player, eventually landing for an extended run at Casino Arizona in Scottsdale.
In January 2006 Monty was invited to visit New Orleans to play music; when his return flight took off, he wasn't on the plane. "I could see how much the people loved the music ... and i could HEAR how good the musicians were. I immediately wanted to be - even a small part of it."
Monty brought his piano trio to Tommy's Wine Bar, and played four nights a week at Club 300, with appearances at The Bombay Club, Donna's, Mimi's in the Marigny, and two weekly gigs at The Spotted Cat on Frenchmen Street.
But the best part, Banks says, is "listening to the jazz super greats
every single day, and getting to play jazz music with the best musicians
in the world !!"