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April-June 2007 July-September 2007 October - December 2007
July-Sept 2006  October-December 2006 January-March 2007


March 26, 2007


        The JAZZ'N BANJOS have found a new venue. Many of the members are former members of the San Fernando Valley Banjo Band.

Submitted by Kaye Wage

March 26, 2007

The Original Wildcat Jass Band

Submitted by Rob Wright


March 16, 2007

An Evening With The Washboard Wizardz

     Now available on DVD - The Washboard Wizardz (along with that master of the banjo strings - Kurt Abell). This video not only captures their music but their stage show humor that is in the style of the Hoosier Hot Shots. Some people even call what they do "Hillbilly Jazz."  Some of the humor portrayed by the Wizardz can only be appreciated by watching them perform live. If you are not able to do this then the DVD is the second best choice.
        You will need to get the video to find out what Kurt is wearying when he plays "Dead Skunk" or how he converts his banjo into a "Spanish Banjo" while playing "Jalisco."

Available at the Jazz Banjo Store

Submitted by John Mumford

March 12, 2007

Banjo On Stage!
Ken Aoki - Solo CD

        Lee Floyd III describes Ken Aoki as one of the best banjo players around today. He has been a popular entertainer in Japan and has released his first solo CD. The album has 19 tracks with a variety of styles of music. He adds a little charm when he plays Zippity Do-Dah with his Southern Medley. You will also find show stopper tunes like Flight of the Bumble Bee and Ken plays Foggy Mountain Breakdown with a flat pick that sounds just like a five-string banjo. The diversity of music on this album is amazing. You find Charlie Christian's Air Mail Special and Chic Corea's  Spain. Other composer that you will hear are: Gershwin, Ellington , Bach, Souza, Reser and Foster. Ken doesn't speak English so all of the liner notes in in Japanese but the the titles are in English.
        Ken has made arrangements with to sell his CDs and they will be shipped from the USA. To purchase his CD go to the Jazz Banjo Store were you can hear samples of his recordings.

Submitted by John Mumford

February 26, 2007

National Four-String Banjo Hall of Fame Museum Seeks to Acquire 200 High Grade American Made Banjos

Dear Banjo Friend:

As you may already be aware, for almost two years our Museum has been endeavoring to return a substantial piece of our unique musical heritage to America via the acquisition of a collection of nearly 200 high-grade American made jazz age banjos which currently reside in a private collection in Germany. I am pleased to report that what seemed like an almost impossible dream is becoming a reality.

As the result of financial commitments from Museum benefactors and donors as well as Oklahoma based sources of arts and cultural funding, we are now more than 90% of our way to raising the nearly one million dollar purchase price. As we move forward with this important acquisition, we are appealing to like minded individuals and organizations within the banjo community to help us reach our goal.

Your tax-deductible financial support of this project in any amount will be sincerely appreciated and will be permanently acknowledged on a placard in the Museum.

If you wish to contribute at higher levels, your name will be permanently acknowledged as the sponsor of a particular instrument within the Museum's collection. To encourage sponsorships at the $1000+ levels, instruments assigned to a particular donation will have estimated value in excess of the donation level. For example, a donation of $1,000 may see your named assigned to a B&D Montana Silver Bell #1 (which has a current value of $1,800). With almost 200 instruments in the new acquisition - having values ranging from $800 to over $25,000, an appropriate acknowledgement of your desired level of giving is assured.

In addition to owning our building, the museum currently has in excess of $2 million in operational endowments. With a planned 6000 square foot expansion opening in 2009, we are both financially stable and physically poised to welcome the return of these historically significant musical treasures to their rightful home. If you have any questions or would like to discuss a specific contribution, please do not hesitate to contact me. Thank your for your consideration.

Johnny Baier
National Four-String Banjo Hall of Fame Museum
116 E. Oklahoma Avenue
Guthrie, Oklahoma 73044

February 25, 2007

Tyler Jackson Victim of Stolen Banjos

Hello banjo friends,

My friend Tyler Jackson had all of his banjos stolen a few days back, in the Houston Texas area. Please distribute this page anywhere you think it may be useful, and if you have any info please write to me.

Maybe the power of the Internet can help us find these banjos!

Thank you,


Submitted by Vinnie Mondello

February 20, 2007

Pietsch Banjos

Dear fellow banjo friends !!

I want to invite you all to check out my brand new website. Over the last couple of years I made more and more custom banjos and I needed a faster medium to show off more photo material to the interested banjo public. This re-launched site includes many previously un-issued photos, videos and sound samples. You are invited to send me your favourite banjo links. Getting "cross-linked" is what this is all about, I guess? Okay , kick back and enjoy a little bit of my "Light Box" photo gallery slide show. Comments and inquiries are welcome - as always HAVE FUN !

Submitted by Norbert Pietsch, Banjomaker.

February 19, 2007

2008 Arizona Banjo Blast

        Rob Wright and Vinnie Mondello have announced the dates for the 2008 Arizona Banjo Blast. It will be held May 15 - 17, 2008 in Tucson, Arizona. A website has been set up with all the details of the event. Keep checking the website for updates and information on the attendees and activities.


Submitted by: Rob Wright

February 16, 2007

by Larry Caputo

        Back in September of 2006 we heard that Jack Convery of the East Bay Banjo Club along with the help of several others in the club was organizing a train trip from Oakland, California to Reno, Nevada. Fliers were distributed among the various banjo players in the region to let them know about the event. The event was entitled, The Snow Train to Reno. For those of you across the country who are not familiar with the California climate, let me explain. As you probably already know, Northern California has a very mild climate. The big cities like San Francisco, Oakland, Sacramento and San Jose rarely see snow, but the eastern side the state where the Sierra Nevada Mountains are located gets snow every year and lots of it.
        Amtrak runs two "Party Trains" per week between Oakland and Reno. One is known as the Fun Train and the other is known as the Snow Train. The Fun Train goes on to Reno on Friday and comes back on Sunday. The Snow Train goes on Tuesday and comes back on Thursday. The banjo trip was scheduled for the Snow Train leaving on Tuesday, February 6th from a suburb of Oakland, Emeryville. It would make four stops in Martinez, Suisun City, Sacramento and Roseville and return on Thursday February 8th taking the same route in reverse.
        This was the first "Snow Train to Reno" trip for banjo players and for those who missed out, it probably won't be the last. In total there were about 50 of us all together: 3 from the Peninsula banjo band, 24 from the East Bay Banjo Club and 9 from the Sacramento Banjo Band plus Norm Gary an independent clarinet player and about 13 more who were spouses and others who just wanted to go on the trip.
        The train left Emeryville at 11 o'clock. Banjo people were assigned to car #10 with any overflow in car #9. Only a few got on in Emeryville. Most of the banjo folks got on at the stop in Martinez and a few more got on in Roseville. This was the Snow Train and it was set up for folks to have a good time, and what a great time it was. On the train we played all the great banjo classics like: The Robert E. Lee, Alabama Jubilee, Darktown Strutters' Ball, If You Knew Susie, I Want a Girl and rarely stopped playing during the entire 8 hour trip.
        We weren't the only ones on the train who were playing music. In Car #4 was a lounge where drinks were served and a Jazz Band was playing. Further up toward the front of the train was the dome car where you could observe spectacular views of the Sierra Nevada Mountains while sipping on a drink of your choice. And, if you smoked you could head off to car #11, the smoking car. Some folks on the train were just there to relax and enjoy the ride to Reno. Also on the train was a magician who performed some of the most unbelievable tricks you can imagine. He traveled from car to car and baffled the minds of many passengers.
        When we got to Reno the train stopped at Harrah's Reno resort hotel in Downtown Reno. Jack Convery announced that he would be having a banjo workshop on Wednesday at 1:00 o'clock on the 2nd floor of the Harrah's Reno resort hotel and a buffet dinner at 5:00 and on Wednesday evening at 7:30 we would all get a chance to meet Georgette Twain who is about to be inducted into the 4 string banjo hall of fame. We exited the train in Reno and since we were all right at the Harrah's Reno resort hotel we adjourned to our rooms for the evening. On the following day, Wednesday we learned that the 2nd floor was reserved not only for the workshop but for the other banjo functions as well. It was so simple and convenient. When the elevator stopped on the second floor you'd step out and you were right there with the music.
        At 1:00 o'clock we attended Jack Convery's workshop. Now, if you listen to Jack's recordings or hear Jack in person, you'll notice he has something in his strum that is unique and wonderful. In his workshop he was willing to let us in on the secrets of just what he does when he plays. We learned that to get that great sound that we hear in his recordings we should try to learn to do the following: When playing a tune written in 4/4 time, you must assign three strokes to each quarter note. So, a measure with 4 quarter notes will get 12 strums or 4 triplets. We also learned that to do this we must use the wrist rather than the whole arm for strumming because the strokes are done very rapidly. The mind has a little bit of difficulty thinking in three's, so it takes quite a bit of practice and mental discipline to get the concept down smoothly.
        Around 8:00 o'clock we all got to meet Georgette Twain who played banjo accompanied by her daughter on violin. Georgette will be inducted into the Banjo Hall of Fame in Guthrie, Oklahoma in May of this year. Georgette's daughter is no novice to music either. Her daughter Cecilia Yale is a violinist with the Carson Valley Pops. We all had a great time listening to and playing banjos with Georgette. Since everybody had their instrument with them it was time for a jam session. Jack told us we could jam until the management told us to a stop. But they never did, so the jam session went on but it didn't go too late because we all knew that we had to be back on the train by 8:30 AM the following day.
        On the train going back, there were two jam session going on, one in car #10 and one in car #9. In car #10 the banjo music was accompanied by Norm Gary on the clarinet. Norm Gary is a fully accomplished musician and also known nationally for his expertise in Bee (the insect) Technology. Norm has a Doctorate in Bee Technology, is called upon by Hollywood whenever his expertise is needed and is also very well known among Banjoists.
        The Snow Train to Reno was a first of its kind. We had a unique and wonderful time. We all thank the East Bay Banjo Band and Jack Convery for making the arrangements and planning the entire trip. If you would like information on the 2008 2nd Annual Banjo Snow Train to Reno, Please go to and sign up on the mail list or email Jack Convery at

Submitted by: Jack Convery

February 12, 2007

Tyler Jackson to Tour with Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard and Ray Price

This last weekend Tyler Jackson was the headliner at the BBA Allenberry festival which is also known as the St. Valentines Massacre. It was at the festival that he announced he would be playing bass for the LAST OF THE BREED TOUR. They don't know about his skills as a tenor banjo player so he is going to bring his banjo along with the hopes that he will have an opportunity to jam a little with it. The tour runs from March 9 - 25th. Most of the dates are in the mid-west so there are limited opportunities to see the show.
        This last week  was one of my favorite festivals at Allenberry. Tyler just keeps getting better every time that I see him. On both nights he performed with Stephen DiBonaventura as well as Ed Cuneo on Saturday night. To make the weekend even more eventful past headliners: Mike Kuehn, Drew Frech, Jim Riley, Kurt Abell and David Frey were also in attendance.

More information about the tour at: Link

Submitted by: John Mumford

February 8, 2007

The Original Wildcat Jass Band

Submitted by: Rob Wright

February 7, 2007

Stone Street Strummers

The Stone Street Strummers will be appearing on "Curtain Call" March19th, 2007.  "Curtain Call" is a local Cable TV show in Massachusetts. The Stone Street Strummers will be playing some music, talking about the upcoming Spring Fling and promoting Steve Caddick's CD's .


            Paul Poirier and Steve Caddick

Submitted by: Paul Poirier

February 6, 2007

New addition to Jazz Banjo Website:

Jazz Banjo Artist - Joni McGowan

Submitted by: John Mumford

January 20, 2007

Trujo Style A plectrum for sale - Ed Cuneo

Hi gang;

I have recently offered my Trujo Style A plectrum for sale.

I have no idea what would be a realistic asking price for it. Of course, in my mind it's probably overvalued since it has been my musical friend for many years...simply too hard to play now.

In addition I am selling my 1933 Epiphone archtop....again, can no longer serve the master.

Your helpful thoughts and suggestions will be welcomed.

Please forward this announcement to any person you think may be interested in acquiring either of these fine old musical instruments.

Ed Cuneo

Banjo Stuff -
Jazz Band -

Submitted by: Ed Cuneo

January 19, 2007

We Three - with Dave Marty, Abe van der Meulen & David Sturdevant

Submitted by: Dave Marty

January 17, 2007

Harry Reser Tenor Banjo Legend
26 Virtuoso Solos for Tenor Banjo
by Bill Triggs and Harry Reser

USD: $24.95
GBP: £19.95
Euro: €28.95


Product Description:
Harry Reser was one of the greatest tenor banjo virtuosos of all time. This book features over twenty tunes from Harry's career, many of them are Reser originals. The tunes are notated in standard notation and tablature. Each song has a set of notes that offer background on the tune and helpful playing tips.

Product Number: 97057
Format: Book
ISBN: 0786660503
UPC: 796279076456
Series: Non-Series
Publisher: Mel Bay Pub., Inc



      This appears to be the long awaited Harry Reser book that Bill Triggs was working on before his death. It appears that it is mostly a reprint of The Harry Reser Master Tenor Banjo Solo Collection (edited by Roy Smeck). The solos that were in the first book are in this one plus a few more new songs. The big difference between the two is that tablature has been added.

 Submitted by: John Mumford

January 8, 2007

Jazz Banjo Magazine 2007

   Coming January 16th the latest installment of Jazz Banjo Magazine. After a break in 2006 JBM resumes publication in 2007. The cover story is an interview with Arno Hagenaars. He talks about how he developed his jazz style and the techniques he has developed in his playing. You will be able to listen to him demonstrate and play different applications. This article is different than the one in FIGA Magazine.
    Don Van Palta, Don Stevenson and Steve Caddick provide arrangements of Basin Street Blues. David Frey has another installment of a Perry Bechtel arrangement.

To subscribe to Jazz Banjo Magazine for the 2007 issues go to the Jazz Banjo Store or the Members Section.

Submitted by: John Mumford

January 5, 2007

Avalon - Steve Caddick and Rene Marion

Publication: BROADCAST NORTH; Date: Jan 5, 2007; Section: News; Page: 10  

Avalon works to keep vintage American banjo music alive

             By SUSAN DZIEDZIC
               The Broadcaster

MANSFIELD — The musical repertoire of Avalon is a nostalgic trip through American history, conjuring up images of strolling along the seashore on a lazy, summer afternoon, enjoying a romantic cup of tea in a parlor equipped with a Victrola or dancing the foxtrot.
    This group, based in Putnam, is made up of Steve Caddick on tenor banjo and Rene Marion on tenor guitar. They are usually backed up by some bass and foot-tapping rhythms provided by Steve Morawiec on stand-up bass fiddle or Syndney Cummbest on tuba. The sound is a traditionally distinctive all-American vintage jazz banjo combo. And if you think this music will remind you of your grandmother’s attic, you might just be surprised.
    Avalon performed a live broadcast on Dec. 26, during the regular Tuesday afternoon Blues Line Show with Ramblin’ Bert on WHUS 91.7 FM in Mansfield. There was a flurry of phone calls from fans tuning in to hear the blues. Instead, they heard something a little different – and they liked it.
    Rene Marion got together with Steve Caddick a number of years ago to learn to play the four-string banjo. Marion knew that Caddick was one of the best jazz banjo players around, so when the two got together for lessons, they realized that their love of this all-American style of music ran deep. They joined forces and created “Avalon” – a musical group named after the popular 1920s song by Al Jolson, dedicated to preserving this style of music.
    “This music is traditional and has stood the test of time,” said Caddick. “You never get tired of hearing these classics, even after they’ve come through multiple generations. People of all ages love hearing this music played on the banjo – it’s such a happy instrument.”
    While plucking the strings of the banjo, Caddick is accompanied by Marion on the tenor guitar. “The tenor guitar is a vintage instrument,” explains Marion. “They’re not being made anymore, although you can still have one custom made. There are only four strings with the same tuning as the four-string banjo, and the mellow sound makes it a perfect accompaniment. The one I play is a vintage model made by Gibson.”
    Before Marion met Caddick, he was playing his music locally, in venues such as Circle of Fun and the Woodstock Fair. Marion has mastered this unusual guitar and plays in a smooth, rhythmic style that is so easy to listen to. “I could play all the time,” said Marion, “And when I retire, that’s exactly what I plan to do.”
    “The four-string banjo took a back seat to the five-string banjo many years ago,” said Caddick. “The five-string banjo is what you see being played in the Bluegrass style. The four-string guitar didn’t work out for rock and roll and moved over for the more popular six-string version.”
    Caddick, who has been playing the banjo since he learned it (literally at his daddy’s knee) when he was a small child, now plays his trademark custom-built, 20-fret Paul Simpson instrument. The instrument is hand-made from beech, bird’s eye and curly maple and sports handsome mother-of-pearl inlays, with intricate engraving on all the metal finishes. “It’s a one-of-a-kind,” said Caddick.
    To find out more about Avalon and their music, or to order CDs by Steve Caddick, visit their Web site at

Submitted by: Steve Caddick

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