The Venerable Jazz Banjo: Stars & Music from Speakeasies, Vaudeville, Concert Halls and More
Where: Jazz at Lincoln Center
Frederick P. Rose Hall/Time Warner Center, 5th Floor
212-258-9800 Price: Free
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When most people hear the word “banjo,” they immediately associate it with bluegrass music. However, it was the 4-string jazz banjo — not the guitar — that defined the hot rhythm section sound of American pop music of the Roaring ’20s and early ’30s. Some of the major music stars of the early 20th century played the 4-string jazz banjo, the aristocratic cousin of the 5-string bluegrass/folk instrument. Jazz banjo was found in speakeasies, concert halls, vaudeville houses, and musical theater pits of the day. It remains an integral ingredient of America’s traditional jazz sound, embraced by players and listeners alike in today’s resurgent hot jazz scenes.
In this evening’s Listening Party, award-winning 4-string jazz banjoist/bandleader and American Banjo Hall Of Fame inductee Cynthia Sayer will discuss the banjo’s eventful history, from its African slave origins to its venerable place in jazz. Along the way, she will demonstrate the instrument’s broad range and influence in various musical genres, as well as pay tribute to some of America’s historic 4-string banjo stars.
Ms Sayer’s performance will be supported by Dennis Lichtman on clarinet, Mike Weatherly on string bass, and Larry Eagle on drums.