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Louiz Banks Launches New Jazz-Rock Band

Veteran jazz pianist/keyboardist talks latest “rock-oriented” project Guitar Synergy, which makes its debut today

Nabeela Shaikh Jul 06, 2016
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Veteran jazz pianist/keyboardist Louiz Banks has launched a new jazz-rock band Guitar Synergy. Photo:Courtesy of the artist.

Louiz Banks’s latest project may only be two months old, but the long-standing jazz pianist/keyboardist already has a gig full of original material with his new jazz-rock band Guitar Synergy. Says Louiz, “I think this band is going to go a long way!”

Guitar Synergy came together in May with Banks on keys, his son and ace drummer Gino Banks, bass prodigy Mohini Dey and Mumbai-based guitarists Rhythm Shaw and Kush Upadhyay. Banks recalls, “Gino brought Kush to the studio to meet me and I was very impressed with him. He had a great sense of melody, a great feel for rock music and was quite inventive with his solos.” A few weeks later, [formerly Kolkata-based guitarist] Shaw shifted to Mumbai and auditioned for Banks. “I was amazed at what he could do on the guitar,” he says. “That sparked the idea for Guitar Synergy. I thought, ”˜Why don’t I get both these guitarists together and develop material?’”

Louiz soon sealed the lineup with Gino””his “first choice in drums”””and Dey””who was “perfect for this set up, since she’s got this rock/funk oriented playing”. The material is now, as the keyboardist describes it, “more rock-oriented, because it’s guitar-driven. It’s away from the hardcore jazz thing that I do. You’ll find that my jazz roots will come out, but it’s more rock-oriented,” he explains.

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For their debut gig at Antisocial Khar, Mumbai, Guitar Synergy will perform an all-original set, with the exception of Miles Davis’ 1959 tune “All Blues”, which Louiz explains has been “treated very differently”. The setlist includes tunes like the funky “Howrah Bridge” [“I come from Kolkata so I have to use something from there!” Banks jokes], a bluesy piece dubbed “Jimi Comes to India” [“Perfect for guitar”, he feels], and other rock-driven tracks like “Run Free” and “Timeless”. Says Louiz, “I have a very young band with me””they’re giving me a lot of ideas and their energy is great. It’s an adrenaline rush, really!”


Guitar Synergy will perform tonight at Antisocial Khar, Mumbai. Click here for event details.

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