As part of the ongoing Christmas celebrations at Opus, a performance by the legendary jazz musician Louiz Banks took place recently. Performing alongside singer Sonia Saigal, drummer Gino Banks and bassist Sheldon D’Silva, the band presented an evening of rhythm n’ blues, jazz and soul.
From originals like ‘Culture Shock’ to gospel songs like ‘Falling In Love With Jesus’, the band played an energetic and enjoyable set. The setlist also included jazz classics like ‘People Make The World Go Round’, ‘All Blues’, ‘Afro Blue’, ‘Mercy Mercy’, ‘Route 66’ and Stevie Wonder’s ‘I Wish’ among others. Even in the instrumental piece titled Shiv Shakti, they had the crowd grooving.
Though very few youngsters were seen in the crowd, the older lot that has seen Louiz in his heyday or is simply a fan of jazz, was full of praises for the band. Rajat Dutt, a 60-year-old who attended the concert, said, “I’m from Kolkata and have seen Louiz performing in the 60s at a legendary venue called Trincas. He has continued his journey with great strength and gotten better and more passionate over the years. I’ve been around in the music circuit as a professor of jazz and these guys take the cake!” He laughed and added, “They make me feel young again. I’d give my right hand to see them play again.”
“I think they’ve done a great job. The drummer was exceptional and the singer came close to Norah Jones. And it goes without saying that watching a legend like Louiz was amazing. I’ve been to a lot of jazz concerts in London and New York and these guys came pretty close,” said P Bhagat, who saw them perform for the first time. “I missed the saxophone because without it, it doesn’t feel like jazz. But they managed to create the same atmosphere without it, so kudos to them!” he added.
Stanley Pinto, who joined the band for ‘Autumn Leaves’ and ‘When I Fall In Love’ by Nat King Cole, recalled, “I first met Louiz in Nepal and have known him since 1971. And I also know Sonia’s father. We all don’t meet as often as we should but performing with them was like going home again.”
Louiz, on his part, felt nostalgic about performing at the venue. “I’ve performed here before and tonight brought back the memories of my first concert here. The response of the crowd was terrific and we had a great time on stage,” he said.