March 26, 2007
JAZZ'N BANJOS have found a new venue. Many of the members are former
members of the San Fernando Valley Banjo Band.
March 26, 2007
The Original Wildcat Jass Band
March 16, 2007
An Evening With The Washboard
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
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
www.jazzbanjo.com to sell his
CDs and they will be shipped from the USA. To purchase his CD go to
Jazz Banjo Store were you can hear samples of his recordings.
February 26, 2007
National Four-String Banjo
Hall of Fame Museum Seeks to Acquire 200 High Grade American Made
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.
National Four-String Banjo Hall of Fame Museum
116 E. Oklahoma Avenue
Guthrie, Oklahoma 73044
February 25, 2007
Tyler Jackson Victim of
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!
February 20, 2007
Dear fellow banjo friends !!
want to invite you all to check out my brand new website.
www.pietsch-banjos.de. 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 !
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
THE TRAIN TO RENO
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
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
skills as a tenor banjo
player so he is going to bring his banjo along with the hopes that
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
Submitted by: John Mumford
February 8, 2007
The Original Wildcat Jass
Submitted by: Rob Wright
February 7, 2007
Stone Street Strummers
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 -
Submitted by: John Mumford
January 20, 2007
Trujo Style A plectrum for
sale - Ed Cuneo
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
Please forward this announcement to any person you think may be
interested in acquiring either of these fine old musical
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
Solos for Tenor Banjo
by Bill Triggs and Harry Reser
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
Product Number: 97057
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.
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
Submitted by: John Mumford
January 5, 2007
Avalon - Steve Caddick and
|Publication: BROADCAST NORTH;
||Date: Jan 5, 2007;
Avalon works to keep vintage American
banjo music alive
By SUSAN DZIEDZIC
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
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