Kenny Banks, Jr.
Kenneth Banks Jr. was born July 15, 1988 in Columbus, Ohio and raised by two musician parents. He started to play the piano at the young age of seven and has since been evolving his craft. Kenneth’s love for jazz has become a passion that pumps through his veins. His years of life experience through music would essentially lead him on the journey to becoming Kenny Banks Jr., The Artist.
Kenneth, or Kenny as he’s most commonly referred to as, is currently noted for his blended technique of mixing classical, jazz, gospel, and hip-hop styles. His father Kenneth Sr., a jazz musician, choir director, artist and performer, began teaching his son at a young age the fundamentals of music theory, jazz, and composition. His mother, Esther Banks, was also an influential figure. She had a prominent role in the gospel industry as a music director for multiple churches in Ohio. There she assisted in the growth of his musicality and professionalism. St. Paul AME was the first church he played for. Later, it would be the landmark in which he played for prominent US political figures President Bill Clinton, Ohio Mayor Michael Coleman, and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed.
In 2003, Kenny made his emergence into the world of music with the Columbus Youth Jazz Orchestra where they toured and performed in Peru, Canada, and through many countries in Europe the year afterwards. In 2009, to pursue his musical career full time, he moved to Atlanta, Georgia where he currently resides. Later that same year, Kenny joined the Theo Croker Quintet in China playing at the Peace Hotel, Jay-Z Club, The Cotton Club, and for government officials of Shanghai and Hong Kong. Upon his return to Atlanta, Kenny joined a band under the leadership of the artist Daryl Reeves, with Reeves becoming a mentor to Kenny. Recently, during 2017 Kenny had the honor of playing in the South African Jazz Festival accompanying Global Peace Song award winner and Grammy nominated trumpeter, Darren English. He has continued performing across the United States, most notably at Dizzy’s Coca-Cola club for Jazz at Lincoln Center with trumpeter Marcus Printup and trombonist Chris Crenshaw.
In addition to Kenny’s touring throughout the years with those previously mentioned, he has also worked as pianist alongside many other Grammy nominated artists (Jennifer Holliday, Dionne Farris, India Arie, Carmen Bradford, Russell Gunn, Jazzmeia Horn, Les Nubians, and Phife Dog of Tribe Called Quest). Lizz Wright, Kathleen Bertrand, Joe Gransden, and UK’s Julie Dexter also add to the list of great talents Banks has had the pleasures of teaming up with. But his feats have not all just been limited to the stage. In fact, he has been featured in multiple film and television productions including “Bessie” alongside Queen Latifah, “Jacob’s Ladder” with Michael Ealy, Fox Network’s Star, Married to Medicine, and a Gil Evans documentary by executive producer Terence Blanchard.
Even with all of his national and international accomplishments Kenny has still made time for his community throughout the years. As part of non-profit and other organizations, Kenny would perform solo piano during community affairs. He volunteered his time playing at Capital University and also directed a youth choir for several years. He is currently a music band coordinator at an AME church. His love and enjoyment for people has led him to his unique style of performance as a solo pianist today.
Music is the science of creating and combining vocal and or instrumental sounds to create beauty of form, harmony, and expression of emotion. These are the makings of a brilliant musician. So, as Kenny would say, explore your harmonic curiosity, tap into the music unheard and “Embrace the sound”.