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September 29, 2006

The San Gabriel Valley Ole Tyme Banjo Band
To Appear At Shakey's Pizza Parlor

       Lee Chapman and his fiancé Mona Lisa founded the San Gabriel Valley Ole Tyme Banjo Band three years ago and on Saturday Oct 7th they will perform at the Shakey's Pizza Parlor in El Monte, CA. Read the whole story in the Whittier Daily News.

Submitted by: John Mumford

September 21, 2006

        A new banjo band has emerged in Southern California. Most of the members are from the San Fernando Valley Banjo Band. It seems that a dispute on the ownership of the band name has created the new band with the new name "Jazz'n Banjos. Look for them to appear throughout Southern California. For more information contact Kaye Wade at

Submitted by: John Mumford

September 7, 2006

The Banjo Rascals Volume 3

        Jim and Geri Rheel are the banjo duo in this group that are backed up by one of the best bands around.  Jim plays tenor banjo, plectrum banjo & guitar while Geri plays tenor banjo, mandolin & provides vocals. Some of the other musicians on this CD are Ed Polcer - Cornet, Randy Reinhart - cornet & trombone, Dan Levinson - clarinet & tenor sax, Mark Shane - piano and John Gill - drums.
        Without a doubt this is a great traditional jazz CD but the bonus is that each track has a banjo solo with Geri providing single string work and Jim providing chord melody. Of the three volumes that this group has produced I feel that volume three is the better of the group. This is not to say that any of the others are inferior. The success of this group can be seen by going to their web site and looking at how many gigs they book. The CD is a CD-R and is available for $15 (includes postage) from:

  Banjo Rascals Inc.
103 Ketcham Avenue
Amityville, New York 11701-3110

See You In My Dreams     That's A Plenty

Submitted by: John Mumford

September 2, 2006

2007 Sacramento Banjo-Rama

        Steve Caddick will appear as one of the headliners at the Sacramento 2007 Banjo-Rama. Other headliners will include Kurt Abell (with the Washboard Wizardz), The Hall family and the Sacramento Banjo Band. The date for the festival is February 27th and it will be held at the Carmichael Elks Lodge in Sacrament, CA.
        Steve is a master of the tenor banjo and has appeared at festivals around the country. Steve
began playing the banjo in 1954 at the age of nine with his father Bill Caddick as his mentor.  In 1969 Rev. Bob Ryder put together a banjo group called "Parsons Plunkers."  Steve was the lead banjo for the group for the next 28 years.
       In 1981 Steve joined another group called "The Stone Street Strummers" and he has played with them off and on over the years.  In 1998 Steve formed a new group, "The Red Suspenders and  Laundry Company" Its actually a continuation of The "Parsons Pickers." For more information on Steve visit his website Link.
         Kurt Abell's original interest in music was in peddle steel guitar but it never materialized.  It was the plectrum banjo that became his livelihood. He  starting playing with banjo bands but Kurt quickly progressed into playing clubs.
     He auditioned for the TV show "The Gong Show" and went on to appear on several of the shows, including a part in the movie of the same name. He was known as the upside banjo player "Count Banjola." More about Kurt and the Washboard Wizardz can be found at Link.

For more information about the Banjo-Rama contact: Ralph Congdon 4229 T Street Sacramento, CA 95819 (916) 452-5502,

Submitted by: Rex Inglis

August 27, 2006

Don Vappie

        This   Tuesday, August 29th,  on Louisiana PBS TV will air "American Creole: New Orleans Reunion."   It will  also air on national PBS stations, Thursday Sept 7th. This program is a documentary on the struggles of Don Vappie and his efforts to keep his band together and keep music alive in New Orleans. Don is well known not only in the banjo community but in the jazz community as well.  Please tell everyone about this important documentary about the future of jazz in New Orleans.

        "In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Don Vappie -- musician, bandleader, Creole -- struggles to find work and his cultural identity in New Orleans. This new documentary premieres on PBS on Thursday, September 7th at 10:00 p.m. EDT, just over a year after the killer storm slammed the Gulf Coast. It follows Don as he tries to keep his band together and bring musicians back to the city. Through his journey, Don begins to question what makes a community, and whether the culture he grew up in can survive not just the storm, but also the social crosscurrents of modern America.
        While Don was displaced by Katrina for only a month, more than half of his eight sidemen saw their houses destroyed. All were forced to evacuate to distant cities. Don scrambles to keep his band alive by taking what gigs he can. On the road, Don wonders if he would be better off living somewhere else, like New York. But can he really leave New Orleans, his home?"

Don Vappie has recorded several albums with one of his latest being "Banjo A La Creole."

More information about Don Vappie can be found in Jazz Banjo Magazine and at his web site. Link.

To find the station, date and time in your area go to and click n TV schedules.

Submitted by: John Mumford

August 18, 2006

Bob Haworth

On Tuesday August 15th I attend a concert featuring Bob Haworth. He is a former member of the Kingston Trio and the Brother's Four. One of his first record LPs was a plectrum banjo album called, "The Banjo King Plays Ragtime." He also recorded a second album that I picked up at the concert called "The Banjo King Plays Favorites." It is only available on cassette tape. Currently some of the songs from the album are playing on Jazz Banjo Radio. The album features some great contemporary and jazz songs  like "Classical Gas" and "Marie."

One of the shows that Bob puts on is an act known as Bob O'Luney's Amazing One Man Band.

 More information about Bob can be found at his website. Link

 Submitted by: John Mumford

August 5, 2006

Hi everybody!

Yes - August seems like a weird time to be talking about Christmas.....but it's a great time to start practicing those tunes for the holidays!  Copies of the "Ultimate Guide's Favorite Christmas Songs" ran out last year.  It turned out to be a very popular book.  The "Ultimate Guide's Favorite Christmas Songs" is now available again - this time with added color!  To check out the book, go to:

Once in the site, click on the "Ultimate Books" in the top banner - then on "Christmas Guide" on the left side banner.

Submitted by: Dave Frey

August 4, 2006

The Peninsula Banjo Band

34th Annual Banjo Jubilee

"Celebrating America's Instrument: The Banjo"

Five hours of your favorite banjo

Sunday, September 17, 2006
12:00 - 5:00 PM

at San Jose Hyatt House Hotel
1740 North First Street
San Jose, California

Featuring Large Banjo Bands
Sacramento Banjo Band, Happy Time Banjos from Redwood City, the Oakland Banjo Band and the East Bay Banjo Club
and your hosts, the Peninsula Banjo Band
also, featuring, from Tokyo, Japan -- the Banjo Stompers.

Soloists and small groups
The Reynolds Brothers
Kurt Abell
Chip Curry on the 5-string banjo
And featuring
Charlie Tagawa -- 2003 inductee into the National Four-string Banjo Hall of Fame

Tickets: $15.00 at the door
$12.00 in advance
All tickets are general admission

For information, phone
Jim Strickland 408-268-3956
Dolly Freese 650-323-1605

Submitted by: Jim Raddatz

August 4, 2006

First Lessons Tenor Banjo

Mel Bay Publications has developed a new series of instruction books called "First Lessons." In this series they offer books for all types of instruments and they have included one for the Tenor Banjo. It is written by Joe Carr who is well known for his guitar work but he also plays and records on mandolin, banjo and ukulele as well.

"The great sound of tenor banjo is a cornerstone of Dixieland and traditional jazz. Using classic favorites, Joe Carr teaches the basics of accompaniment, basic melody and the popular chord melody style. Chords and melody are combined to produce professional sounding solo arrangements. This book/CD combo includes play-along practice tracks that speed up the learning process. It doesn't get any easier! Also available as a book/CD/DVD set."

More information can be found at Mel Bay's web site. Link

Irish Tenor Banjo

If you are interested in Irish Tenor you may also want to check-out Gerry O'Connor's Irish Tenor Banjo book at Mel Bay. Gerry has been hailed as the best banjoist in Irish music.


Submitted by: John Mumford

July 30, 2006

Bonn International Banjo Festival.

Saturday Nov. 25
Workshops & sessions from 14.00. Evening concert from 20.00

Sunday Nov.26
Brunch session from 12.00

FIDDLERS Irish pub,
Frongasse, Bonn-Endenich.

10Euros entry per day. Good music, good food, good beer.

Contact or

Submitted by Sean Moyses

July 30, 2006

New England Jazz Banjofest '06
** Fun, Friends, Foliage **
October 13-15, 2006

Worcester Hotel and Conference Center
500 Lincoln St. (Rt. 70, North of I290)
Worcester, MA 508-852-4000
Ask for $86 Banjofest rate (cutoff 9/.13/06

Friday Night Opening Concert
Saturday Afternoon Show
Jam Sessions
Vendor and Practice Space Available
Allen Padwa 508-754-7918

Submitted by Allen Padwa

July 25, 2006

Banjo Rally International

Doug Back will be the headliner at the Banjo Rally International, in Eureka Springs, AR - August 30th through September 3rd.  Originally trained as a classical guitarist and considered one of the foremost authorities and interpreters of 19th century music he took up the classic 5-string banjo when he couldn't find someone to play in a trio. His goal was to recreate The Big Trio. This was the name that the newspapers gave to three soloist: Frederick Bacon (5-string banjo), WIlliam Foden (Guitar) and Giuseppe Pettine (mandolin). Doug has since gone on to be recognized as one of the leading masters of the classic fingerstyle banjo.
        Doug Back is the author of four anthologies and companion recordings of classic guitar music for Mel Bay. He has written articles for numerous publications in addition to recording three banjo CDs. More information on Doug can be found at: Link

The convention will be held at the "Inn of the Ozarks Convention Center" (reservations: 479-253-9768)


Wednesday Night:   Early Bird Jamming
Thursday Night:   Early Bird Jamming
Friday 9:00 AM Registration, Jamming, Workshops
  9:00 AM Off The Street Band Practice
  2:00 PM Ridgeview Assisted Living
  6:00 PM Banquet
  7:30 PM Concert
Saturday 1:00 PM Jamming & Workshops
    Outside Venue
    Crescent Hotel Lobby
  6:00 PM Buffet
  7:30 PM Concert

For more information and registration packets contact Glenn Parks at:

Submitted by: Glenn Parks

July 24, 2006

William Skelly, who played the banjo for square dances for 40 years, dies at age 99. He was a member of the Lorain County Banjo Band. Link

Submitted by: John Mumford

July 21, 2006

Arno Hagenaars - CD - STUNG!

This is the most exciting CD to come along since I have been review CDs. This recording does not have any of the traditional banjo music that you would expect to hear on a four string banjo. Arno has truly crossed over into the world of jazz and improvisation. The banjo has not seen a lot of interest by younger players to take up the instrument but with this sound there could be a revelation. The best way to describe it is to imagine a jazz piano player playing but the sound is coming from a tenor banjo.
        I played this CD to some top jazz players in Denver and they were blown away with what Arno was doing. Bela Fleck developed a whole new interest for the five string banjo by crossing over from bluegrass to jazz. I hope that Arno's CD will be the CD that takes the banjo into the modern world of music. Arno will also impress you with the one song that is a song from the past - Harry Reser's, Crackerjack. He also will tease you with another song by Harry Reser - Oh! Boy, What a Girl. The song serves as a basis for further improvisation after the second time through.

To order the CD and to hear samples of the different tracks go to:

Look for an interview with Arno Hagenaars in a future issue of Jazz Banjo Magazine.

More information about Arno Hagenaars can be found at:   email:

Submitted by: John Mumford

July 20, 2006

Early Spring Banjo Fling

Sponsored by the Stone Street Strummers
March 22 - 25, 2007
Holiday Inn
31 Hampshire Street
Mansfield, MA 02048

Cynthia Sayer is our headliner and will be performing in concert and giving a workshop.
Rob Wright will give a workshop on "Jungle Ball" and a 3rd workshop is planned and is currently being organized.

Cynthia's bio:

Cynthia Sayer is internationally acclaimed as one of the leading jazz banjoists, and is also known for her vocal, entertaining and multi-instrumental talents. Ms. Sayer has worked with such artists as Woody Allen, Dick Hyman, Milt Hinton, Bill Cosby, George Segal, Wynton Marsalis, Les Paul, Odetta, Marvin Hamlisch, Bucky Pizzarelli, Kenny Davern, Dick Wellstood, Bob Wilber, Doc Cheatham, Warren Vaché, Ken Peplowski, and many others. She tours regularly and is featured in concert and at festivals worldwide.

Cynthia is the pianist and vocalist with “Woody Allen’s New Orleans Jazz Band,” including appearing in "Wild Man Blues," the award-winning feature film documentary of Woody Allen filmed during their European concert tour. She was the banjoist with the New York Philharmonic performances of "Rhapsody In Blue," conducted by Kurt Masur. Cynthia has appeared at The White House, plus in New York City's Carnegie Hall, Town Hall, and Lincoln Center. There is a Trivial Pursuit game (90's Edition) question about her. She has also worked with films like "Purple Rose Of Cairo" and "Sophie's Choice." Other soundtracks include Woody Allen's "Bullets Over Broadway" and "Anything Else," plus TV's "The Cosby Mysteries." Her television and radio credits are extensive, both in the USA and abroad, including a 2001 guest appearance on Marian McPartland’s NPR show, "Piano Jazz." In 2002, Cynthia concertized with some of the top bluegrass/newgrass players, including Bela Fleck, Bill Keith, Tony Trishka, Eric Weissberg, Mike Marshall and more, and was filmed for PBS TV. In 2006 she appeared at The Dorchester Hotel in London, plus was filmed for a national educational project called the Traditional Jazz Curriculum, sponsored by the Smithsonian Institution and others. Additionally, in May she will be inducted into The National Four-String Banjo Museum Hall Of Fame in Guthrie, OK.

The Dresden International Jazz Festival 2000 awarded Cynthia their trophy for Festival Favorite, describing her as "a pioneer of a new banjo style... an exceptional artist who, without showy gimmicks, captivates and excites her audiences." The Mississippi Rag 1999 Readers Poll Award listed Cynthia as second for Favorite Living Banjo Player. Also in 1999, readers of the banjo publication The Resonator voted her their first-choice headliner. According to Frets Magazine, where she was a winner of the 1988 Readers Poll Awards for 4-String Banjo All Styles, "Cynthia has great tone and touch and a scorching solo style."
The New York Times points out that "within the small society of contemporary jazz banjoists, women are even rarer. One of that very rare breed, Cynthia Sayer, plays with a plunging drive ... and her jazz-inflected singing [has] a deep sense of involvement."

Cynthia composed and produced a series of radio and TV jingles which received significant recognition in the New York City region. She co-starred in "The New Spike Jones Show," as featured in People Magazine and The Wall Street Journal. Her banjo, vocal, multi-instrumental and acting talents received rave reviews. Cynthia was also the official banjoist for The New York Yankees.

Ms. Sayer's debut album, "The Jazz Banjo Of Cynthia Sayer," featuring Milt Hinton and Dick Wellstood (NY Jazz J-008) was listed as one of the top ten classic jazz releases for 1988 in Cadence Magazine and The Mississippi Rag . Her next recording, "More Jazz Banjo" featuring Bucky Pizzarelli and Dick Wellstood (NY Jazz J-010) received this recognition for 1989. "Forward Moves," featuring Kenny Davern, again received this top-ten recognition for 1993. According to music critic Floyd Levin, "This record attests to Cynthia Sayer's vocal and instrumental talents that have been highly acclaimed by musicians, critics and fans on both sides of the Atlantic." Her 1998 release, “Jazz At Home” (Jazzology JCD-270), was GHB Record's top seller. “String Swing” (Jazzology JCD-370) was released in May, 2000. New York Post jazz critic Chip Deffa describes it as "so warm, direct and swinging -- it gave me so much pleasure." In 2002 Cynthia released "Souvenirs," an interactive MultiMedia CD. She reissued her first two recordings on CD in 2005, titled “Cynthia” (New York Jazz J-008/J-010), and is currently working on a new CD, to be called "Attractions."

Cynthia Sayer graduated from Ithaca College, Magna Cum Laude. She endorses OME Banjos and GHS Strings.

Submitted by Stephen: Caddick

July 19, 2006

New additions to Jazz Banjo Website:

Jazz Banjo Band - Dan McCall and His Banjokers
Jazz Banjo Artist - Joe Gordon

Submitted by: John Mumford

June 24, 2006

Ragtime Riverboat Rats

     The long awaited and much anticipated CD from the small group I play with, the "ragtime riverboat rats" is now available. The CD titled "Those Were The Days" has many of your favorite songs from the 1970's to 1900's. There are 21 great songs. All this for just $15.00 plus $2.00 postage. Make this a gift for that special someone on their birthday, anniversary, Christmas, Valentines day, Mother's day or Father's day. Sent Check or Money Order to:

Donald F. Stevison
218 Zimmerman Street
New Carlisle, OH 45344-1513
Phone: 937-845-0321
937-430-9307 (cell)

FAX: 937-845-8045



Submitted by: Don Stevison

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