Banu Gibson

Banu Gibson is a bandleader, a vocalist, a dancer, a banjo/guitar player, a director, and a choreographer. Her expressive voice, swinging repertoire, and engaging stage presence make her a favorite among fans of traditional New Orleans jazz and Tin Pan Alley standards.

Gibson, an Ohio native, began her career in Miami, Florida, singing and dancing at Jackie Gleason’s nightclub and getting her first exposure to what was then called “Dixieland” jazz. Gibson soon headed to New York City, opening for the Ed Sullivan Show, among others, and then out on the road, singing, dancing, arranging, and, above all, entertaining across the miles and the years. In 1973 she followed her soon-to-be husband to New Orleans, where he had accepted a teaching position at Tulane, and quickly became a force in the city’s traditional jazz and musical theatre scenes. She began developing her own style as she played with the Dukes of Dixieland, Connie Jones, and other jazz legends.

Gibson focuses on the musics of the 1920s, '30s, and '40s, and she has sung in venues ranging from tiny European nightclubs to cruise ships to the Hollywood Bowl. She is an annual headliner at The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. In addition to performing in the Crescent City, she toured extensively with legendary cornetist Wild Bill Davidson, and with the World’s Greatest Jazz Band and New Orleans Hot Jazz Band.

Gibson’s engaging performances transcend the realm of the jazz concert: she has appeared on radio’s A Prairie Home Companion and several national television programs and often guest-stars with symphony orchestras nation-wide. She can also be found directing and choreographing for The WWII Museum’s Stage Door Canteen and other venues.

Gibson works closely with pianist/musical director David Boeddinghaus. She also founded and directs the New Orleans Traditional Jazz Camp, which attracts some 150 youth and adult campers to the city each year for a week of workshops, lessons, and street parades.


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