Billy Banks

Billy Banks is principal owner and director of Banks Entertainment, a management consulting and production services company, and has worked for more than 30 years as a concert/tour producer, record producer tour manager, and music business management consultant. Since 1982, he has worked closely with trumpeter/band leader Wynton Marsalis on a wide variety of performance and recording projects, and established the role of Director of Production and Touring Operations at Jazz at Lincoln Center from 1994 – 2001.



"Slices of the Apple: Cover Charges & Late-Night Jams New York City and Jazz Through the Decades (Multi-media Presentation & Panel Discussion)"

The fruitful relationship of jazz and “The Big Apple” stands as one of the foremost examples of a musical style growing and benefiting from a supportive home, and in turn, helping to define the sound and style of that city. To this day, New York City remains both the fertile center and the proving ground of jazz, and the city’s enduring association with jazz can be measured through a number of representative clubs in which a number of musical breakthroughs took place.

The first half of this 90-minute event will be a multimedia presentation looking at representative New York City jazz clubs, from the 1920s through the 2000s, with stories and images of each venue—each serving as a barometer not only of the history of jazz styles but also of American social progress. From Duke Ellington’s “jungle music” at the Cotton Club to Billie Holiday’s “Strange Fruit” at Café Society”, Miles Davis’s Birth of the Cool nonet at the Royal Roost to John Coltrane’s roof-raising spiritual performances at the Half Note—as well as more modern venues as the Knitting Factory, Tonic and Small’s—will be examined as parts of a historic tradition that feeds into a vibrant musical community today.

The second half of the event will be a panel discussion addressing the primary question at the heart of the presentation—what is it about New York City and jazz that accounts for their lasting relationship, with a more contemporary focus on their role in providing forums for free-flowing musical exchange as well as financial support for the music’s creators. Other issues to be discussed: the notion of clubs as necessary component to a vibrant musical community; the concept of musician-run performance venues; and ultimately, the reality behind the idea of New York City as the gravitational center of a worldwide musical community, and what this means for other cities, and styles of music.