Complete Review: New Orleans Breakthru Media

Monty Banks In New Orleans

Monty Banks In New Orleans

Monty Banks- In New Orleans

by Dean Shapiro

Seattle native, Las Vegas Strip veteran and now a fully acclimated New Orleanian, pianist/vocalist Monty Banks is a refreshing blast from the past. As one reviewer put it, “It doesn’t get any more old school Vegas than this.”

On this, his debut CD, Banks tackles a dozen pop standards in the vocal style of Sinatra and other crooners of his generation, with the advantage of being his own accompanist.

Comparisons to Harry Connick Jr. would not be off the mark here.

Banks’ mastery of the 88s shines through on such classics from the Great American Songbook as “Blue Skies,” “Come Fly with Me,” “L-O-V-E,” “Nature Boy,” “The Sunny Side of the Street” and one of my favorite Jerome Kern compositions, “The Way you Look Tonight.”

Every song on the CD has a cheerful, uplifting feel to it, due in no small part to Banks’ own upbeat persona both onstage and off. You can’t help but feel the urge to sing along with him.

As for backup artists, it doesn’t get much better than Tommy Sciple on bass and Paul Thibodeaux on drums, both of whom provide a solid foundation for Banks’ styling but without overpowering him.