Contact Us
View Report!
No.: PR0022
TITLE: Tommy Banks Fonds
CREATOR: Tommy Banks
DATE RANGE: 1950 - 2012
EXTENT: 31.96 m of textual records. -- 1767 photographs. -- 396 negatives. -- 17 slides. -- 329 transparencies. -- 1941 audio reels. -- 262 CDs. -- 144 audiocassettes. -- 2 digital audiocassettes. -- 548 LP’s. -- 28 45s. -- 102 videocassettes. – 14 DVDs. -- 3 films. – 5 artworks. – 2 plaques. – 1 floppy disk.

Thomas “Tommy” Benjamin Banks was born December 17, 1936 in Calgary, Alberta to Benjamin and Laura Banks. In 1949, Banks and his family moved to Edmonton, Alberta. Banks began studying piano at age 12. In 1950, he joined Don Thompson’s jazz band and toured throughout Alberta as part of the “Jammin the Blues” shows. At 17, he became musical director of the Orion Musical Theatre in Edmonton (1954 – 1958). Throughout the 1950s, Tommy often performed as a conductor and an accompanist, regularly with one of his first bands, the Banknotes. In 1956, Banks managed the Associated Entertainment Services of Canada after receiving a license from the American Federation of Musicians. In 1965, Banks incorporated his business ventures, Tommy Banks Music Limited and Banks Associated Music. In 1967, Banks incorporated Century II Productions. During the 1960s and 1970s, Banks authored and produced numerous commercial jingles under Century II Productions. In 1974, Tommy incorporated Century II Records to publish and release albums from musicians such as Richard Adams, Valerie Hudson, Bruce Innis, Terry McManus, K.J and the Grand Bank, Privilege, Skipper, Sylvester Stretch, Russell Thornberry, and Donna Warner. However, after the label suffered financial loses, Banks shut down the label. Century II productions also expanded in the 1970s to music publishing. The company published artists such as Paul Clarke, Tony Lewis, Gaye Delorme, Gary Guthman, Paul Hann, Pete White, Don Johnston, Andy Krawchuk, Bliss Mackie, Beverly Ross, Tony White, Harry Pinchen, Dough Hutton, and Robbie Campbell.

Banks made his first television appearance in 1963 on the CBC television show “Keynotes”. He co-hosted the show with Harry Boon until 1964. From 1968 to 1974, Banks hosted “The Tommy Banks Show” on CBC. In 1974, The “Tommy Banks Show” moved to ITV in Vancouver and became a nationally syndicated program until 1983. Banks also served as music director and coordinator for ITV’s “In Concert” from 1974 to 1980. In addition, Banks starred in the television variety series “Celebrity Revue” and hosted other television programs such as “Somewhere There’s Music”, “What’s My Name”, “Love and Mr. Smith”, “Symphony of A Thousand”, and “Tommy Banks Jazz”.

In 1982, Banks was cast as a member of the series “Opening Doors”, an ACCESS television network production dealing with career planning. Banks also starred in 1983’s The Wild Pony and the 1989 ABC mini-series Small Sacrifices. Banks has also been involved in numerous television and radio specials including “The Great Gershwin”, “The Song is Kern”, “The Magnificent Westerns”, “Come Spy with Me”, ”The Tender Touch of Spring”, “The Soft Songs of the Twenties”, “The Candyman”, and “The Raes”.

Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, Banks regularly recorded and broadcast with various combos for CBC programs including “Jazz Radio Canada”, “Jazz Land”, “Jazz Beat”, “Jazz City”, “Variety Tonight”, and “On Stage”. He also hosted radio programs such as “Summer Jazz Beat” (1992) and CKUA’s “Arts Alberta” (1990 – 1994).

Banks has also served as musical director for numerous special events in Canada. In 1967, he led a jazz quintet at Expo 67 and produced and directed the first of several Klondike Follies for Edmonton's Klondike Days. He directed the 1978 Commonwealth Games, Ronald Reagan’s state visit, the 1983 World University Games, the 1984 Papal visit by John Paul II to Vancouver, Expo ‘86, and the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary. Tommy Banks also served as musical director for the dance production “Stolen Moments” produced by Decidedly Jazz Danceworks in 1997.

During the 1980s, Banks also toured with his big band and artists such as Big Miller and Anita O' Day. As a member of the New Orleans Connection, Banks toured Canada and Europe during the early 1990s. Banks continued to conduct his own big band until 2003. Throughout his career, he has played with the Regina Symphony Orchestra, the Calgary Philharmonic, the Hamilton Philharmonic, the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra, the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, the National Arts Centre Orchestra, the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra.

Banks has also scored numerous orchestral compositions including the “Gift of the Magi”, and “The Lady that’s Known as Kate”. He has also scored film and television soundtracks such as “Birds in Winter”, “A Christmas Carol”, “Alberta Suite” and “Pierre Burton’s Klondike”. In addition, he composed the anthems for “We’re all We’ve Got” for the United Community Fund and “Tomorrow’s Country” the centennial song for the Northwest Territories.

Throughout his career, Banks has also participated in numerous community organizations and associations. In 1978, he established the Alberta Foundation for the Performing Arts, now the Alberta Recording Industry Association (ARIA); he chaired the Edmonton Concert Hall Foundation (1989 – 1991); he chaired the Alberta Foundation for the Performing Arts (1978 – 1986); and he chaired the music program at Grant MacEwan College in Edmonton (1983 – 1987). In 1989, he became a member of the Canada Council for the Arts. He served on the council until 1995, and served as its policy adviser from 1996 to 1998. He also served on the board of the CKUA Radio Foundation and the Alberta Television Network Corporation. He has also offered the lecture “The Evolution of Jazz” at the University of Alberta. He has frequently adjudicated festivals and events including the Juno Awards, ARIA, Great Canadian Awards, Canadian Stage Band Festival, the Band and Vocal Jazz Festival, the Kiwanis Music Festival (Vancouver), and the Saskatchewan Stage Band Festival. He is member of the American Federation of Musicians, Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television, and Radio Artists (ACTRA), the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, and the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television.

Banks has also received numerous awards for his musical achievements and service to the community. In 1971, he received an Alberta Achievement Award. In 1978, he received a Juno for a double album recording of his performance at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland. In 1979, he received an Honorary Diploma of Music from Grant MacEwan College and in 1987 an honorary Doctor of Laws from the University of Alberta. In 1986, he was inducted into the Edmonton Cultural Hall of Fame, and he was inducted into the Alberta Order of Excellence in 1993. In 1990, he received the Sir Frederick Haultain prize. In 1991, he became an Officer of the Order of Canada. In 1992, he won the Award for Distinction from ARIA. In 1992, he won a Gemini Award for his performance at the 1990 Canadian Country Music Awards. Throughout the 1990s, he also won numerous awards from ARIA. In 1999, the City of Edmonton renamed 86th Avenue, the street in front of the Yardbird Suite, home of the Edmonton Jazz Society, Tommy Banks Way.

In 2000, Prime Minister Jean Chrétien summoned Banks to the Senate of Canada to serve as a member of the Liberal Parliamentary Caucus. On May 9, 2001, Senator Tommy Banks was appointed Vice-Chair of the Prime Minister's Caucus Task Force on Urban Issues. In the Senate, he has sponsored several Government Bills including those dealing with species at risk, and with the establishment of the Department of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness. He has served as a member of the Standing Committee on National Finance, the Special Committee on Illegal Drugs, and the Standing Committee on National Security and Defense. Tommy Banks retired from the Senate on December 17, 2011

Tommy Banks resides in Edmonton with his wife Ida.

SCOPE AND CONTENT: The fonds consists of records documenting Tommy Banks' musical and senatorial career. It has been divided into eight series: the Tommy Banks Business Records Series, the Tommy Banks Commemoratory Series, the Tommy Banks Community Involvement Series, the Tommy Banks Performance Series, the Tommy Banks Musical Collection Series, the Tommy Banks Personal Records Series, the Tommy Banks Radio, Television, and Film Series, and the Tommy Banks Senate Series.
RELATED RECORDS: For additional materials held at the Provincial Archives of Alberta that relate to artists featured in the Tommy Banks fonds, please see the Big Miller fonds (PR2285) and the Stony Plain Records fonds (PR0023). For additional materials related to Banks' business activities, please see the Brian E. and Donald G. Baker fonds (PR0058) and the Century II Motion Pictures fonds (PR2899). For additional photographs of Banks please see the Thunderbird Photographers fonds (PR1792).
GENERAL NOTE: Information for the administrative history/biographical sketch sourced from the donor and the fonds.
RELATED SERIES: PR0022.0001 (Tommy Banks Business Records Series)
PR0022.0002 (Tommy Banks Commemoratory Series)
PR0022.0003 (Tommy Banks Community Involvement Series)
PR0022.0004 (Tommy Banks Performance Series)
PR0022.0005 (Tommy Banks Music Collection Series)
PR0022.0006 (Tommy Banks Personal Records Series)
PR0022.0007 (Tommy Banks Radio, Television, and Film Series)
PR0022.0008 (Tommy Banks Senate Series)
Back to search results

Freedom to Create. Spirit to Achieve.

Home    About the Provincial Archives   Login

© 1995 - 2024   Government of Alberta    Copyright and Disclaimer    Privacy    Accessibility