At the beginning of the 20th
century America was in love with the banjo. It had transcended from the plantations
and the civil war to being enjoyed and played by all levels of society. It was the
development of Jazz following Ragtime that brought about the four string banjo. The
fifth string was dropped to allow the instrument to be strummed which was different than
the finger picking style of the past.
The four string banjo became know as the
jazz banjo since it was used in string bands, jazz bands and orchestras. The five
string banjo took a back seat until the 1950s when bluegrass became a new musical form.
Today the five string is used to play not only bluegrass and old time music but
classical, jazz, pop and swing.
John plays both four and
five string banjo and presents sounds that are not only reminiscent of the past but of the
modern sounds heard today.