May 18, 2024

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Louiz Banks on his musical journey: Video, Photo

Veteran Jazz singer Louiz Banks retraces the journey of becoming ‘The Jingle King of India’. Louiz Banks on his musical journey: ‘The thing about jazz is the freedom it affords you. There is no wrong note in jazz. Everything is right. You make it right’.

In the 1930s, Pushkar Bahadur Budaprithi, armed with his trumpet, made a beeline for the lowlands of Calcutta from Nepal. Calcutta was where the Western music scene was bubbling with glamour, talent, and money.

There, under the advice of his friends, he adopted the more suave name George Banks — two thick monosyllables. Over the years, with his wife Saraswati, he would father 3 boys, 2 girls — the boys would be named Louiz, Peter, and Stephen and the daughters, Ganga and Jamuna.

The eldest, Louiz, named after the trumpet king Louis Armstrong, picked up jazz, the way one absorbs language growing up. When they moved to the winding hills of Darjeeling, he would sometimes play with his father’s band at the prim Gymkhana Club, while the flounce and wooden soles on the dance floor chafed between cha-cha-cha, the foxtrot, waltz, mambo, samba, rumba, and tango. He was introduced to not just a specific kind of musical performance but also a culture in which that performance was embedded. That culture would soon churn away into obsolescence. Louiz, however, swam with the times.

I love the sophistication of jazz,” says Louiz Banks of the genre – Medford  Jazz

In 2021, when Louiz would turn 80, the decades he spent between Darjeeling, Calcutta, and Bombay, between the fermenting jazz bands, the dollar-fueled world of ad jingles (‘Humara Bajaj’, Cadbury, Liril), and thick possibilities of Hindi cinema would be archived in his fan-boy biography, Louiz Banks: A Symphony of Love written by Ashis Ghatak.

In the journalistic penchant for grand christenings, he was called “The Godfather Of Indian Jazz”, for not only bringing jazz into the cultural consciousness but also marrying it with other art forms — the fusion bands with Carnatic singer Ramamani and later, Shankar Mahadevan; performing with Zakir Hussain, Ravi Shankar, Niladri Kumar. It was this fusion that his son, the drummer Gino Banks, absorbed from the air, growing up in the 1980s.

For International Jazz Day (30 April), Louiz Banks has been curating an event at the National Center For Performing Arts (NCPA) for the past decade. This year, there were bands and musicians performing from across India — the youngest was 17, the oldest, Louiz himself, was over 80.

Louiz Banks quartet to headline the Jazz India Circuit launch concert –  India Education | Latest Education News | Global Educational News | Recent  Educational News

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