KENNETH A. BANKS, Jr., Piano
Born in Xenia, OH, Kenny lives in Columbus and will be a junior at Walnut Ridge High School in the fall. He says it “seems like I’ve been playing forever, but actually, it hasn’t been that long. I grew up around music because my dad is a jazz artist and my mother is an organist and choir director.”
Kenny’s first love was the drums, but he switched to the piano at 9 although he didn’t begin to focus on jazz until he was 15. He is a member of his high school jazz band, the OMEA All-State Jazz Ensemble and the Columbus Youth Jazz Orchestra, which he credits with helping him improve his playing.
He gives his Dad the most credit for inspiring him to play jazz and letting him sit in at some of his gigs. Kenny regularly plays piano for his church choir, St. Paul A.M.E. Church and also performs around town. In his spare time he likes to play basketball. His three favorite pianists are his father, Art Tatum and Oscar Peterson.
Kenny is very excited about “having the honor of learning from the same great teacher that taught my dad in college, Bill Cunliffe.” One of his goals for the Workshop is to enhance his skill and understanding of improvisation.
Kenny was selected as an Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation Scholar. The Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation has provided funding for his Workshop Scholarship.