The music of New Orleans is a rich gumbo simmered in the juices of many cultures.
The cooks who first seasoned the spicy brew included American Indians, French-Canadians and blacks from both the American South and the Caribbean.
New Orleans music has in turn flavored other musical forms, including jazz, the blues, zydeco, rock ‘n’ roll and even country music.
A few hardy “serious” composers have been known to explore the exotic rhythms and textures of New Orleans.
The list of musicians associated with New Orleans ranges from King Oliver and Professor Longhair to Fats Domino and Fats Waller.
Jazz’s famous Marsalis dynasty hails from the Crescent City.
Al Hirt, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, the Neville Brothers and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band - they all continue to thrill audiences with unique takes on the vibrant, fun-filled music of New Orleans.
And fun is the common denominator - if you can listen to any band from New Orleans without wanting to get up and shake it, you’re ready for your walker.
Now you can add to that list one more name - Banu Gibson and her sextet, the New Orleans Hot Jazz.
Gibson is a vocalist who specializes in songs from the 1920s and ‘30s. Her repertoire extends from New Orleans jazz to pop tunes and early swing standards.
Her influences include Bessie Smith, Billie Holiday, the Boswell Sisters, Sophie Tucker and Lee Wiley, and she is said to evoke the sounds of Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday, Fats Waller, George Gershwin and Hoagy Carmichael.
Saturday, Gibson and her band will perform with the Spokane Symphony in the season’s fourth SuperPops concert, with Fabio Mechetti conducting.
The Symphony will open the show, performing Aaron Copland’s “Buckaroo Holiday” and “Hoedown,” from “Rodeo,” and Calvin Custer’s arrangement of “Dixieland Parade.”
Gibson and her band will join the Symphony for the second half, which will include selections by George and Ira Gershwin, Irving Berlin and Harold Arlen.
Gibson has been featured on television’s “Entertainment Tonight,” Joan Lunden’s syndicated show “Everyday” and the PBS series “Dixieland Jazz from New Orleans.”
She has appeared on American Public Radio’s “Riverwalk, Live from The Landing” and sang the title song for the “Great Chefs of New Orleans” series.
In 1986, she toured Europe with cornetist Wild Bill Davison, and her band regularly performs in Germany, England, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden.
In 1991, she was invited to perform at Dick Hyman’s “Jazz in July” festival.
A native of Dayton, Ohio, Gibson was raised in Hollywood, Fla., and studied dance from the age of 3 and voice at age 9. She has performed in the road band of Your Father’s Mustache and formed the New Orleans Hot Jazz band in 1981.
MEMO: This is a sidebar that appeared with this story: Spokane Symphony with Banu Gibson & the New Orleans Hot Jazz Location and time: Opera House, Saturday, 8 p.m. Tickets: $25, $21, $16 and $12; available at the symphony box office, 624-1200, and G&B
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